NSW Government joins the push for mRNA manufacturing

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The New South Wales government has joined the federal and several other state governments in announcing a plan to become a centre of mRNA manufacturing.

The state's government said it will provide support to its universities, research institutions and hospitals to further advance its mRNA research, development and manufacturing capabilities.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the action included the formation of a new NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance, a partnership across all NSW Universities, and providing support for a new $15 million NSW RNA Production and Research Network. The Alliance and Network will work closely with a new $25 million RNA Institute established by UNSW Sydney.

“The pandemic has shown that an investment in mRNA vaccine manufacturing and RNA research is an investment in the health and safety of our community,” said Ms Berejiklian.

“A strong and supported RNA industry will ensure NSW remains a world-leader in the development of medical technologies and therapeutics to combat everything from pandemics to cancer and genetic diseases.”

The NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance will be led by Professor Pall Thordarson, professor of nanomedicine and synthetic chemistry at UNSW Sydney, and will report to the NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee to coordinate collaborative work across the NSW RNA ecosystem.

The NSW RNA Production and Research Network will be led by UNSW Sydney in partnership with The University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, Australian National University and the Kirby Institute, Westmead Institute of Medical Research and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard said RNA technologies could potentially play an important role not only in combatting pandemics but also in therapies and diagnostics.

“NSW is already home to pioneering research and national leadership across the fields of gene therapy, gene-modified cell therapy and RNA therapy. This collaboration of some of our brightest scientific minds will turbocharge research and development in NSW,” said Mr Hazzard.

The NSW Government said it has responded to the federal government’s approach to market for a local mRNA manufacturing capability.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said, “NSW is best placed to anchor the future of RNA-based research and manufacturing in Australia given its stronger networks, faster access to innovative vaccines, therapies and diagnostics for patients.

“The NSW RNA Production and Research Network and the broader NSW RNA Bioscience Alliance will support leading universities to educate and train the researchers of tomorrow to grow an expert workforce for the RNA ecosystem, including the emerging mRNA vaccine manufacturing industry.”