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Queensland companies to lead the way in on-shore COVID-19 vaccine manufacture

Queensland biomanufacturing companies Luina Bio and Thermo Fisher Scientific are well positioned to fill the gap in Australia’s on-shore COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and distribution capabilities, eliminating the nation’s reliance on foreign providers when a vaccine candidate becomes available.

Utilising the two organisations’ existing Queensland-based manufacturing facilities would drastically reduce the time and tax-payer dollars required to develop new manufacturing facilities from the ground up, as has been previously suggested by other players in the industry.

The only gap remaining is Australia’s limited capability in final stage supply chain logistics for ‘fill and finish’ facilities, which could be expanded and made available with additional investment through government funding.

The suggested investment would build on a new $50 million, state-of-the-art facility Luina Bio plans to have in operation by late 2021, designed for the commercial manufacture of vaccines on an international scale.

Life Sciences Queensland Chief Executive Office Clare Blain said Queensland’s expertise and capabilities in the biomanufacturing space will be vital in ensuring Australians have access to a vaccine in a timely manner.

“Currently, no single manufacturing company in the world has the capability to meet the global needs for a COVID-19 vaccine, it is now more important than ever for the cooperation of organisations to leverage current capabilities to ensure the need is met and reduce the opportunity for price gauging,” she said.

“Australia’s onshore capability to manufacture and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine to our population is a national issue, and Queensland is at the forefront to plug that gap and bring together the capabilities to meet the needs of our country, ensuring we don’t fall behind the rest of the world in terms of a pandemic response.

“Not only do organisations like Luina Bio and Thermo Fisher already have the baseline infrastructure and staff in place to build upon in terms of large-scale vaccine production, but their expertise in cGMP manufacture is a capability that is difficult to replicate in new facilities without years of experience and stringent processes in place.”

Between the two Queensland organisations — with funded fill and finish facility expansions in place — Australia would have the capability to commercially manufacture vaccines using the leading platforms utilised by most of the vaccine candidates including DNA or RNA based vaccines, recombinant proteins, peptides and potentially virus-like particle based vaccines.

Luina Bio Chief Executive Officer Les Tillack said, with the appropriate state and federal funding, Luina Bio would have the ability to complete the entire commercial manufacturing process from production to vial, in as little as nine to 12 months.

“It’s important that the State and Federal Governments work smart in this situation, and ensure we aren’t pouring tax-payer dollars into re-creating infrastructure that already exists here in Queensland,” he said.

“Investing in companies like Luina Bio that already possess the intricate cGMP capabilities needed to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine will save governments millions of dollars, and has the potential to cut down the time associated with this type of infrastructure and advanced processes development by a number of years.”
With fill and finish capabilities in place, Luina Bio has the potential to produce around 250,000 doses of a vaccine per week at its expanded Darra location, with construction proposed to commence by the end of this year on the enhanced facility.

Thermo Fisher’s Brisbane General Manager Kym Baker said Australia’s self-sufficiency in the commercial manufacturing of vaccines is not only important in the current pandemic environment, but for the country’s future pandemic preparedness.

“The government has an opportunity to invest strategically in expanding capabilities that exist in Queensland for manufacture of high-quality vaccines to ensure we have the scale of production and start-to-finish capabilities needed to cater to our population of nearly 25 million people,” she said.

“Once this infrastructure is in place, it’s here for good and will significantly enhance our ability to keep the production of vital biomaterials onshore and reduce the time associated with international outsourcing.”

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:
Emily Samuels, Rowland
Phone: 0410 303 363
Email: emily.samuels@rowland.com.au

About Life Sciences Queensland
Life Sciences Queensland Limited is an Australian peak industry group, working to assist the growth of individual firms and organisations, and build the profile, capacity and capability of the sector to ensure long term economic, social and environmental benefits to Queensland.
By highlighting the key role that life sciences innovation plays to feed, fuel and heal our citizens, the major focus of LSQ is to facilitate the future growth and sustainability of Australia’s life sciences industry and enhancing Queensland’s national and international reputation as a key centre of commercial and research excellence and innovation in life sciences.

About Luina Bio
Luina Bio is one of Australia’s most experienced biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing organisations, offering an inclusive set of services including cGMP manufacture in TGA/APVMA-licensed facilities of recombinant proteins, vaccines, and synthetic molecules for human and veterinary uses. Luina Bio’s Flexible Bio-manufacturing Platform, Luina FMP ™ was developed from over three decades of contract manufacturing experience, knowledge and expertise. For more information, please visit www.luinabio.com.au.

About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue exceeding $25 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics and therapies or increasing productivity in their laboratories, we are here to support them. Our global team of more than 75,000 colleagues delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services and Patheon. For more information, please visit www.thermofisher.com.