Monash University and Moderna form partnership to advance homegrown mRNA medicines

Monash University

Representatives from Moderna and Monash signing MMQPA agreement

Chris Bral (Moderna) and Doron Ben-Meir (Monash) signing the MMQPA agreement.

Monash University and Moderna today announced the establishment of the Monash-Moderna Quantitative Pharmacology Accelerator (MMQPA), a five-year program which aims to drive advancements in mRNA medicines, including therapeutics and vaccines, through a $3 million investment by Moderna and substantial in-kind contributions to the collaboration from Moderna and Monash.

Victoria’s Minister for Industry and Innovation, the Hon. Ben Carroll, visited the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) in Parkville, where the program will be headquartered, and met with Monash mRNA and quantitative pharmacology researchers, along with international Moderna delegates.

The MMQPA has been established through the newly established, Melbourne-based Moderna Research Centre for Respiratory Medicines and Tropical Diseases.

Quantitative pharmacology uses mathematical computer models to help describe and predict how medicines will work in the human body. Much like mRNA technology, quantitative pharmacology is a transformative science which has significantly improved the speed, efficiency and safety of the drug development process.

As such, the Monash-Moderna collaboration will enable Australia to accelerate the development of new safe and effective mRNA medicines for a broad range of diseases by harnessing quantitative pharmacology systems to make the process more efficient.

Located in the heart of Parkville’s biomedical precinct, MIPS is home to some of Australia’s leading quantitative pharmacology experts with extensive experience in model development across a range of diseases, especially infectious and tropical diseases. Likewise, Monash is at the cutting-edge of mRNA therapeutics development for a broad range of diseases.

Monash Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Engagement) and Senior Vice-President, Doron Ben-Meir said the partnership represents an important milestone in addressing a major gap in Australia’s current mRNA development environment.

“Quantitative pharmacology is hugely impactful across the entire drug discovery pipeline – from the early stages right through to regulatory submission and even analysis of real-world performance of medicines. This collaboration offers the potential to create a world-class and globally rare mRNA quantitative pharmacology capability based right here in Melbourne,” said Mr Ben-Meir.

Director of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Professor Chris Porter said, “The MMQPA complements Monash’s ever-evolving RNA and quantitative pharmacology ecosystem, which continues to play a significant role in placing Australia and Monash at the forefront of drug discovery, development and innovation in new medicines for a broad range of diseases.”

The MMQPA is the inaugural R&D Accelerator initiative from Moderna’s Global R&D organisation in Australia. The Program will enable the Monash/Moderna team to tap into globally derived preclinical and clinical data from proprietary Moderna programs and world-first insights from cutting edge mRNA scientific data.

Dr Craig Rayner, Director of Moderna’s Regional Centre for Respiratory Medicines and Tropical Diseases said, “Moderna is proud to showcase investment and commitment to advancing Australia’s mRNA scientific capabilities and delivering the impact of mRNA science. With this partnership, we can help fast-track Australia’s contribution to mRNA drug discovery, development and innovation in new mRNA medicines for a broad range of diseases.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Senior Vice-President, Professor Rebekah Brown, said collaboration between industry, academia and government is central to Monash’s goal of driving high-impact research programs with real-world outcomes.

“This partnership is a great example of world-leading researchers and industry coming together to create a critical capability which will advance mRNA medicines to patients and strengthen Australia’s resilience to a range of diseases and future health emergencies,” said Professor Brown.

Moderna is building its first mRNA production facility in the southern hemisphere within the Monash Technology Precinct in Melbourne’s south-east. It will be the world’s first mRNA production facility to be located on a university campus and complements Monash’s own RNA ecosystem, with ground-breaking work that will lead to the rapid development of life-saving vaccines and therapeutic treatments for infectious diseases and cancers.

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