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Queensland to Co-Establish Global Vaccine Hub

In a bid to establish itself as a global mRNA vaccine hub, The Queensland government has partnered with a leading healthcare company to establish a world-first research centre in Brisbane. The AU$280 million Translational Science Hub will be established under an agreement between the company, the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Queensland Government.

The state’s Premier noted that Queensland will be the only jurisdiction in Australia to have a centre like this. She said that the Translational Science Hub will give them the platform to develop life-saving vaccines.

The Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development said the new Hub would help drive the development of new vaccines and healthcare solutions across the world. Through the Translational Science Hub, Queensland scientists will collaborate with global peers in the US and France on ground-breaking mRNA technology and vaccine development.

The Hub will bring more expertise, supply-chain capabilities, as well as clinical investigations to Queensland. It is expected to create up to 200 jobs for Queenslanders and strengthen the region’s biomanufacturing supply chain. mRNA technology is expected to deliver a new generation of vaccines that instruct certain cells to produce proteins that are recognised by the immune system to mount a defence.

The Minister for Science stated that Queensland is being recognised as a global research and innovation hub thanks to the government’s investment in state-of-the-art research facilities, talent attraction and partnerships between industry, academia and government.

She said that the agreement will make Queensland science even more competitive by accelerating the commercialisation of local research by linking university partners with a global industry leader to evaluate and develop new health technologies.

The government is also investing AU$17 million in the state budget to provide significant support to foster partnerships between universities and industry and accelerate the commercial application of major research being conducted in the state.

The Translational Science Hub in Queensland will work closely with the healthcare firm’s mRNA Centre of Excellence in France and the US to accelerate a new era of vaccine innovation, the firm’s Global Head of Vaccine Research and Development said.

The Vice-Chancellor and President, Griffith University, stated that Griffith is delighted to be part of the partnership building on the strengths and capabilities of the University’s existing biomedical leadership. The University’s researchers are internationally recognised for bringing disease-specific mRNA expertise to developing new vaccines and therapies while our Clinical Trial Unit is a leader in testing safety and efficacy.

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland stated that the partnership builds on a commitment to bring the latest technologies to UQ’s internationally recognised vaccine and drug development programs. The shift in focus mRNA technologies was accelerated during the pandemic and UQ has invested in both the people and facilities to ensure mRNA for pre-clinical research can be developed and produced in Queensland.

The Translational Science Hub will be located across Queensland, using the laboratories and infrastructure of the University of Queensland, Griffith University, and the Translational Research Institute (TRI). The research is expected to start in Q1 2023 with an initial focus on a Chlamydia vaccine.

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the world with around 129 million infections a year. While Chlamydia can be treated, there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection. If left untreated it can lead to infertility and in pregnant women can result in foetal eye and lung infections.

The biomedical industry in Queensland contributes around AU$ 2.1 billion in gross value-added products and employs more than 12,000 people across the state. The industry is supported by the Queensland Biomedical 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

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