BioCina awarded $3.3m grant to bolster mRNA capabilities

The CDMO has been awarded a $3.3 million grant by the Australian Government’s NHMRC to support the demand for mRNA.

Millie Nelson, Editor

May 4, 2023

2 Min Read
BioCina awarded $3.3m grant to bolster mRNA capabilities

The Australian CDMO has been awarded a $3.3 million grant by the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to support the demand for mRNA.

The contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) said the grant awarded under the government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will fund activities with its industry partners to advance technologies for the production of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.

In September 2020, Bridgewest Australia Holdings, a subsidiary of private investment firm Bridgewest Group, entered the biologics production space by inking a deal to acquire a Pfizer plant in Adelaide, Australia.



Over a year later, the company completed an expansion program and relaunched the 60,000 square-foot site under CDMO banner BioCina.

In addition to the grant from the NHMRC, the South Australian Government will match the $3.3 million investment.

“I’m very proud that BioCina has earned this MRFF grant. This funding, along with additional financial support from the South Australian Government, aims to deliver two complementary outcomes,” Mark Womack, CEO of BioCina said.

“The first is an increase in mRNA manufacturing and associated analytical capability at BioCina, and the second is a microfluidics-based device for parallel manufacture at the small scales required for the personalized therapeutic vaccines market. This will increase capacity to produce mRNA pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, from initial fermentation of DNA plasmids to formulated mRNA-Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) complexes for administration in clinical trials.”

The project is expected to commence “almost immediately” and the CDMO said it aims to fill the technology gap identified in the personalized mRNA vaccine space, as well as addressing Australia’s lack of domestic mRNA production.

mRNA down under

Australia has been building its mRNA capabilities more rapidly since the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2021, Moderna announced its plans to construct an mRNA manufacturing plant in Victoria, which could produce up to 100 million doses each year.

Work on Moderna’s facility began in December 2022 under a 10-year partnership with the Australian Government. The facility is expected to be operational in 2024, subject to regulatory approvals.

In February 2022, Myeloid Therapeutics was selected to operate an RNA research and pilot manufacturing plant at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia to support the State’s ability to develop and produce RNA-based therapeutics and vaccines locally.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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