Work has begun to build Moderna’s breakthrough mRNA vaccine plant in Melbourne’s south-east, a first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Medical scientist with mRNA vaccine

The cutting-edge facility at Monash University’s Clayton campus will turbo-charge the growth of Victoria’s sovereign mRNA manufacturing industry and is the first to be built by pharmaceutical giant Moderna outside of North America

Construction of the facility is expected to be completed in 2024 and will be capable of producing 100 million vaccine doses a year.

The local mRNA manufacturing capability will provide ready access to COVID-19 booster shots as well as mRNA vaccines for other respiratory viruses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Construction will support 500 jobs with another 500 medical manufacturing and research roles to be created across Victoria’s burgeoning biotechnology industry once operational.

Moderna’s major investment in Victoria also includes the establishment of its regional headquarters and regional research centre at Clayton, and a series of research partnerships and fellowships entered into with Victorian medical research institutes.

Moderna Australia and New Zealand General Manager, Michael Azrak said, ““The start of construction on this landmark facility is another step we take to ensure Australia has an onshore supply of respiratory mRNA vaccines that can be rapidly scaled-up to fortify the country against pathogenic threats and future pandemics.”

Melbourne is recognised as a top-three global hub for medical research and innovation, along with Boston and London.

The Clayton facility confirms Victoria as Australia’s leader in mRNA vaccine and therapeutic development with the ability to manufacture mRNA vaccines in population and pandemic scale quantities, something only previously possible in the United States and Europe.

The Victorian Government has led the mRNA push in Australia, creating mRNA Victoria which has driven developments also including the announcement in October that Pfizer/BioNTech would create its Asia-Pacific mRNA clinical research and development centre in Melbourne.

Victoria is responsible for almost 60 per cent of Australia’s pharmaceutical exports – making it our highest value advanced manufactured export.

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