Seqirus to build $800m flu vaccine facility in Melbourne

Wednesday, 18 November, 2020

Seqirus to build $800m flu vaccine facility in Melbourne

Influenza vaccine provider Seqirus has announced plans to construct a world-class biotech manufacturing facility in Australia to supply influenza vaccines to Australia and the rest of the world.

The facility will produce influenza vaccines using cell-based technology for use in influenza pandemics and seasonal vaccination programs and, once complete, will reportedly be the only cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

Artistic impression of the new facility.

The facility will also manufacture Seqirus’s proprietary adjuvant MF59 — a substance added to some vaccines to improve immune response and to reduce the amount of antigen needed for each vaccine, enabling more doses to be manufactured more rapidly.

In addition, the facility will produce unique products important to Australia’s public health needs, including antivenom for Australian snakes, spiders and marine creatures, and the world’s only human vaccine for Q-Fever.

Seqirus is a wholly owned subsidiary of CSL Limited, which will invest more than $800 million in capital expenditure to construct the facility. The building is expected to be operational by mid-2026.

Seqirus will also invest significant, ongoing capital over the coming years in the advanced-manufacturing biopharmaceutical facility. It will manufacture product for domestic and export markets, support the future of 1000+ STEM jobs in Victoria and will have a supply chain worth more than $300 million annually.

The Victorian Government will also contribute to the project, reinforcing Victoria’s already globally significant medical research and biotechnology community.

This announcement follows agreement with the Australian Government to secure the ongoing onshore manufacture and supply over 10 years of influenza pandemic vaccines, anti-venoms and Q-Fever vaccine.

CSL CEO and Managing Director Paul Perreault said, “Providing safe and effective influenza vaccines is essential in securing our defences against serious public health threats.

“The facility will be an important addition to our global influenza manufacturing supply chain, incorporating the technology platform used in our Holly Springs, North Carolina, facility. Cell-based influenza vaccine technology offers many advantages over the existing process, including being more scalable and offering faster production — particularly important in the case of influenza pandemics,” Perreault said.

Seqirus General Manager Stephen Marlow added, “CSL has a proud history of contributing to Australia’s public health needs and this investment will write an exciting new chapter in our story.

“While the facility is located in Australia, it will have a truly global role. Demand for flu vaccines continues to grow each year, in recognition of the importance of influenza vaccination programs. This investment will boost our capacity to ensure as many people as possible — right across the world — can access flu vaccines in the future.”

Main image caption: Seqirus Holly Springs syringe-filling process.

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