Biomedical Hub to Produce Keys in Life-Saving Therapies

Biomedical Hub to Produce Keys in Life-Saving Therapies
The Sydney biomedical research facility in Westmead. (AAP Image/NSW Health)

A biomedical research facility will expand to commercial scale, producing life-saving therapies and vaccines in a move the New South Wales (NSW) government hopes will make the city a global research hub.

The world-leading lab based at Sydney’s Westmead uses viral vectors—a key component of many cell and gene therapies—to treat cancer, genetic diseases, and infections.

Viral vector technology uses viruses that are harmless to humans to carry genetic therapies for the target organs and systems that cause significant human diseases.

Establishing a commercial company provides a strong base for the facility’s sustainable and long-term success, the government said.

Stage one is operational for use in gene therapy research, with the first clinical trial expected in 2025 using vectors from the facility.

Stage two is under construction and will provide NSW with commercial-scale viral vector manufacturing, capable of meeting the growing demand.

The company will make the vectors and supply them to specialised healthcare staff, who will deliver the therapies to patients.

The state government has committed $134.5 million to establish the facility and to manufacture viral vector products for research and clinical trials.

Health Minister Ryan Park said the facility will have life-changing benefits for people suffering from genetic diseases, cancers and viral infections.

“These therapies are expanding rapidly, targeting more and more genetic diseases, cancer and infections—significantly increasing the number of patients who can and will benefit from viral vectors,” he said.

Mr. Park said the expansion in potential applications and treatments is not matched by current manufacturing capacity.

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said NSW is a globally recognised leader in developing and delivering gene therapies, cell therapies and vaccines with viral vectors a key part.

“This is cutting-edge, world class work happening right here in Western Sydney,” he said.

“This commercial-scale facility will allow us to meet local manufacturing demand, and further establish us as a respected leader in this field.”