The federal government wants a show of interest from drug manufacturers to make life-saving mRNA vaccines in Australia.
The mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines such as Pfizer are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases and are being used in the fight against coronavirus.
The Morrison government on Friday is releasing an “approach to market” for the development of onshore mRNA manufacturing.
In a statement the government said it was continuing negotiations with existing manufacturers while approaching the market for others that could provide solutions.
The approach to market process would be open for eight weeks from Friday.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said mRNA was an extremely promising branch of medical science and Australian businesses and researchers were already developing mRNA capacity.
“However our market analysis also shows there are gaps and challenges to scale up, which mean it’s not currently possible to commercially manufacture mRNA treatments locally.
“The government is inviting key commercial providers and potential providers to demonstrate their future capability and explain what government involvement, assistance or support could make that capacity a reality,” Mr Porter said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said mRNA vaccines were already a key pillar of the government’s vaccine strategy but mRNA technology had the potential to treat many other diseases including cancer, flu, and cardiovascular disease.
Among the requirements set out by the government for applicants are the submission of fully costed proposals to establish an end-to-end onshore population-scale mRNA capability.
The applicants would need to demonstrate access to necessary intellectual property for manufacturing processes and make products available to the Australian government as required and in priority over any other purchaser.
Any manufacturer would need to deliver secure supplies of population-scale mRNA vaccines, including the ability to scale up production to respond to reasonably foreseeable health emergencies.
Any operation would need to be sustained over 10 years with an undertaking to maintain the capability onshore on an ongoing basis.