Microbio moves to Brisbane’s Translational Research Institute

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Microbio has moved into new laboratories at Brisbane’s Translational Research Institute (TRI) with the aim of eventually setting up domestic manufacturing capability.

The company said it has moved to TRI to help fast-track the manufacture of the reagents used in its tests. At TRI, Microbio has set up new offices and laboratory space to house its expanding staff numbers.

Microbio chief scientific officer Dr Flavia Huygens said that the TRI provided the facilities that Microbio needed at this stage of its development.

“Early last year, we changed our research direction into developing tests for COVID-19 and have been busy adapting the technology we originally developed to detect the pathogens that cause Blood Stream Infections and Sepsis,” said Dr Huygens.  

“The imminent sale of these COVID-19 tests in international markets has meant we have had to scale up our operations, with built-for-purpose office and laboratory facilities.  We were delighted when we were invited to move into TRI, which is the home of some of the greatest scientific and medical innovators in Australia.”

TRI combines clinical and translational research to help companies move from discovery to application in the community.

“The timing of the move is perfect for where we are in our development,” added Dr Huygens. “We have developed two distinct versions of InfectID-COVID-19 tests -Detection and Replicating tests.  

“There is increasing interest in Microbio’s InfectID-COVID-19-Replication test, which is a novel real-time PCR test designed to detect the SARS-COV-2 virus while it is in its early replicating phase."

The CEO of TRI, Professor Scott Bell, welcomed Microbio to the Institute and said that the company was joining a unique cohort of scientists, researchers and clinicians working to solve health challenges faster.

“TRI offers an ideal environment for Microbio to grow and develop its commercial offerings,” said Professor Bell.

“Microbio now has access to state-of-the-art research and clinical trials facilities as well as the opportunity to collaborate with leading scientists, clinicians and other emerging biotechs, to help bridge the gap between research, commercialisation and the clinic.

“TRI is the only medical research institute in Australia to incorporate incubator space for start-up companies, with nine commercial groups based at TRI and a waiting list.”

Microbio currently manufactures small quantities of reagents at its new laboratory in TRI and aims to offer sovereign capability to Australia by eventually manufacturing locally at scale, to complement its offshore manufacturing facilities.

DMTC (formerly the Defence Materials Technology Centre) has worked with Microbio on underpinning developments related to this diagnostic technology and supported the pivot of the work to focus on COVID-19.  

Dr Felicia Pradera, the general manager of health security systems Australia at DMTC said Microbio’s plans to develop onshore manufacturing capabilities align with DMTC’s goals.  

“DMTC is working with the defence innovation system to achieve outcomes for Defence but also to build the breadth and depth of sovereign Australian industrial capabilities,” said Dr Pradera.  

“Projects like this are an example of DMTC bringing the best of industrial and research expertise together, in Australia, to ensure that research expertise, Intellectual Property and industrial capability stays here.”