Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology giant Moderna has announced an agreement in principle with the Australian government to establish a state-of-the-art mRNA vaccine production facility in Victoria, Australia.

Moderna expects that up to 100 million vaccine doses could be produced in Australia each year.

Chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel commented: “I would like to thank the Australian and Victorian governments for their collaboration and partnership. We are committed to global public health and while we are still responding to this pandemic, we also want to ensure we and society learn from it. As Moderna expands internationally, we are pleased to bring local mRNA manufacturing to Australia. We believe that this sustainable national business model will have global impact and implications.”

The new production facility is expected to provide Australians with direct access to a domestically manufactured portfolio of mRNA vaccines against respiratory viruses. These will include Covid-19, seasonal influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and potential other vaccines pending licensure.

In addition, the facility is intended to be activated on an urgent basis to support the country with direct access to rapid pandemic response capabilities.

Moderna is in discussion with other governments about potential collaborations built on a similar model. The company announced plans to build a facility in Canada earlier in 2021.