BioNTech and State of Victoria will establish an mRNA research and innovation centre, and BioNTech alone will build a BioNTainer facility for end-to-end clinical scale manufacturing of mRNA-based products and candidates in Melbourne
German biotech company BioNTech has entered a strategic collaboration with Australia’s State of Victoria, to research and develop potential mRNA-based vaccines and therapies.
Under the partnership, both parties will jointly establish a research and innovation centre in Melbourne to advance promising academic research into clinical development.
BioNTech will support the collaboration’s research and development efforts by leveraging its expertise in mRNA research and clinical development of potential new products.
In addition, the company will build a new, end-to-end mRNA manufacturing plant in Melbourne, Victoria, to support the design, production and clinical testing of mRNA products.
BioNTech will leverage BioNTainer solution, its mobile modular manufacturing unit for the new clinical-scale manufacturing facility in Melbourne.
BioNTainer is said to occupy minimal space for operation, and facilitates flexible production of mRNA-based constructs and products.
The new Melbourne facility will operate as a part of the Biotech company’s global network.
BioNTech CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin said: “Science and innovation can only make a difference if it is applied outside of the laboratories and reaches people worldwide.
“This partnership is a major step forward to enable access to mRNA technology and promote collaborations in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Australia provides excellent academic research, and we are looking forward to collaborating with world-class scientists and researchers to strengthen Australia’s mRNA ecosystem and to jointly develop potential novel treatments and vaccines for people worldwide.”
BioNTech said that the collaboration will create hundreds of jobs during construction and operation of the new facilities in Melbourne.
The company intends to further strengthen its clinical development capabilities in Australia.
Currently, a total of 18 product candidates in the company’s oncology pipeline are under clinical-stage development in 23 ongoing clinical trials.
BioNTech is currently enrolling participants in Phase 2 trials of its mRNA-based drugs BNT111 and BNT113 in Australia, with plans to further expand clinical development.
BioNTech COO Sierk Poetting said: “We at BioNTech are committed to global public health, and as we continue to expand internationally, we look forward to working jointly to drive the development of innovative medicines.
“Our BioNTainers are designed as turnkey manufacturing sites for mRNA-based medicines and product candidates.
“In Melbourne, our BioNTainers will allow for an end-to-end production including fill and finish for clinical-scale manufacturing of mRNA candidates, once approved.”