South African delegation visits MIPS, scientists showcase mRNA innovations

MIPS mRNA researcher Dr Harry Al-Wassiti presents to the South African delegation and Afrigen

MIPS mRNA researcher Dr Harry Al-Wassiti presents to the South African delegation and Afrigen.

The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) has welcomed representatives from South Africa’s Afrigen Biologics and the South African Medical Research Council, along with mRNA Victoria, to meet with MIPS mRNA researchers who are working to identify and select promising therapeutic candidates with the potential to evolve into new therapies for a wide range of diseases.

The South African delegation is in Victoria to formalise a new partnership with mRNA Victoria that will drive mRNA collaboration between the two jurisdictions and the mRNA Vaccine Technology Transfer Hub, a South-African based World Health Organisation initiative to increase mRNA vaccine production capacity in low- and middle-income countries worldwide.

During their visit to MIPS, the South African representatives visited labs dedicated to mRNA research and learnt more about the role MIPS is playing to help put Australian industry at the forefront of mRNA technology.

MIPS researchers were the architects of Australia's first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to reach clinical trial and are also the driving force behind The Victorian mRNA Innovation Hub, a collaborative team of Melbourne researchers which aims to develop new technologies that will underpin mRNA therapeutics and develop vaccines that are more effective, cheaper and faster to produce.

Representatives from mRNA Victoria, Afrigen Biologics and the South African Medical Research Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding at MIPS that will focus on sharing knowledge across three key areas: best-practice mRNA advanced manufacturing; mRNA workforce training & development; and research collaboration between Victorian and South African researchers applying mRNA technology to the treatment and prevention of neglected tropical diseases.

Monash University is home to Monash RNA, Australia's largest network of RNA and mRNA researchers, and brings together mRNA specialists from the fields of biotechnology, infectious disease, immunity and cancer, at the leading edge of a new era in novel mRNA therapeutics.

From identifying and developing mRNA candidates, through to clinical testing and manufacturing, Monash is strengthening Australia’s resilience to a range of diseases and future health emergencies.