CSIRO opens $23m vaccine lab

The national science agency has opened a new $23.1 million national lab in Melbourne to boost the onshore production of vaccines and drug treatments.  

Dr Larry Marshall

The CSIRO’s National Vaccine and Therapeutics Lab will focus on turning vaccine and drug candidates into products that can be manufactured in large quantities for clinical trials. 

It follows the establishment of a pilot facility that was set up in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic to scale up onshore vaccine production. 

CSIRO’s Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall says the past two years have underscored the need for a robust sovereign capability to develop vaccines and therapeutics.

“The problem facing our biomedical industry has been that most vaccine and drug candidates needed to be sent overseas to be produced in large quantities for clinical trials, adding burdensome costs that have crushed many Australian businesses and researchers as the invention languishes on the lab bench,” he said in a statement.

“This new shared National Lab will help Aussie companies bridge that ‘valley of death’ – the gap between the lab bench and making a product that’s having an impact on people’s lives.” 

Research Director for Biomedical Manufacturing, Professor Susie Nilsson says the facility will be available to companies and researchers around the country and will help local vaccine makers take part in international trials. 

“This new lab has been designed and constructed in accordance with the current licensing requirements of the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration to produce a variety of biologics, including recombinant proteins and peptides, and viral products,” Prof Nilsson said.  

“Our team at the lab will produce drugs in partnership with local industry and enable our partners to progress to both phase one and phase two clinical trials in Australia, and also has the necessary accreditation for Australian companies to participate in clinical trials globally.” 

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