US-based biotechnology company Moderna has taken a significant step in advancing mRNA (messenger RNA) research by introducing the mRNA Platform Incubator Network in Australia. This collaborative network brings together prominent Australian organizations with expertise in translational and pharmaceutical science, early-phase clinical trials, and regulatory science. The primary goal is to promote scientific excellence in clinical translation and further harness the therapeutic potential of the mRNA platform.


Promising Potential of mRNA

Moderna has officially partnered with the Australian Federal Government to establish an advanced domestic mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Melbourne, Victoria. This collaboration, following the initial announcement in December 2021, underscores Moderna’s commitment to supporting Australia’s mRNA research and global public health efforts. The facility will focus on producing mRNA vaccines for respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and RSV. Construction is set to begin by the end of 2022, with operational status expected by the end of 2024, subject to approvals. Moderna’s extensive mRNA pipeline includes 28 vaccine candidates targeting respiratory and latent viruses, addressing global health challenges.

Moderna‘s Regional Research Centre, inaugurated in August, will serve as the headquarters for this network of excellence. It includes prestigious institutions like Monash University, the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), the Peter Doherty Institute, and The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. By combining the knowledge and expertise of these esteemed organizations, the Network aims to overcome specific clinical platform challenges and enhance mRNA therapeutics.

mRNA technology has been at the forefront of medical innovation, particularly in the development of COVID-19 vaccines like Spikevax. The Network’s mission involves developing scientific strategies to tackle challenges in the mRNA field. It also focuses on overseeing the practical implementation of these strategies, using non-clinical and computational quantitative pharmacology investigations, as well as translational clinical trials, led from Australia. This approach demonstrates the commitment to exploring mRNA’s therapeutic potential fully.


Elevating Australia as an mRNA Research Leader

Dr. Craig Rayner, Director of Moderna’s Regional Research Centre, emphasizes that the creation of the mRNA Platform Incubator Network underscores Australia’s emerging leadership in mRNA research. Professor Chris Porter, Director of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, also highlights the importance of bringing together leaders in mRNA science from academia, industry, and clinical evaluation. This collaboration represents a significant step toward realizing the full potential of mRNA therapeutics. As mRNA technology continues to evolve and offer promising therapeutic options, this initiative is poised to contribute significantly to medical advancements and innovation in Australia.

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