Biotech to deliver next generation cancer care

BioNTech will also establish an innovation centre in Parkville.

Victoria’s standing as a leading producer of life-saving vaccines and medicines will grow with global giant BioNTech creating a research and manufacturing facility in Melbourne.

Premier Jacinta Allan announced on December 8, the German biotechnology company’s mRNA facility will be established at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus, creating about 1200 local jobs over 10 years.

In addition to the company’s drugs and vaccines, the new facility will produce next generation mRNA vaccines and treatments for clinical trials as well as research-grade RNA materials.

This will enable local researchers and biotechnology companies to tap into BioNTech’s world-leading expertise in developing immunotherapies.

BioNTech chief executive and co-founder professor Ugur Sahin said BioNTech’s vision is to translate science into survival.

“Victoria is one of the leading life sciences hubs in the Asia Pacific region, and we are looking forward to strengthening its cutting-edge research and development,” professor Sahin said.

Included in the agreement is BioNTech’s clinical cancer program to deliver precision oncology therapies for hard-to-treat cancers for up to 4000 Australians over the next 10 years.

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will be the co-ordinating delivery partner for the program together with other Victorian hospitals Austin Health, Alfred Health and Monash Health.

New treatments will target pancreatic, neck, cervical, oesophageal and colorectal cancers, with more hard-to-treat cancers to be included.

BioNTech will also establish an innovation centre in Parkville to support the commercialisation of local research, helping fast-track new therapies from the lab to patients.

The agreement will see BioNTech’s artificial intelligence subsidiary InstaDeep, which is leading the development of an AI-driven early warning system for potential pandemics, set up its Australian head office in Victoria.