A new vaccine facility for Melbourne

Published: 16 November 2020

Artist impression of vaccine facilityThe Victorian Government has helped secure the construction of a major new biotech manufacturing facility in Melbourne, to help protect against future influenza pandemic threats and safeguard hundreds of jobs.

Seqirus, a subsidiary of Victorian-based global biopharmaceutical leader CSL, will invest more than $800 million to build the state-of-the-art facility at the Melbourne Airport Business Park, with operations expected to start in 2026.

The project will secure more than 1000 local jobs, generate export contracts and ensure continuing support for hundreds of organisations estimated to be worth $300 million to the local supply chain, helping to boost the state’s economic recovery.

The project is a significant investment in Australia by CSL and will position Victoria at the forefront of the global influenza vaccine market.

The only cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, the facility will also produce other products such as the world’s only Q-Fever vaccine and anti-venom for local snakes, spiders and marine creatures.

An agreement between the Commonwealth Government and Seqirus has secured the supply of these products and influenza pandemic protection for Australia over the next 10 years.

To produce a cell-based influenza vaccine, the influenza virus is isolated and grown in cultured cells rather than grown in chicken eggs. Modern cell-based techniques have key advantages over egg-based methods used since the 1940s, including being more scalable and offering faster production.

The new facility will produce seasonal influenza vaccines and have the capacity to rapidly scale up vaccine production in response to any future influenza pandemic and guarantee the nation with a priority supply.

Headquartered in Melbourne since its inception in 1916, CSL is one of the world’s leading biotech companies and continues to invest in Victoria due to the quality of the state’s infrastructure, universities and workforce.