A $352 million manufacturing facility for therapeutic plasma products will be established in Queensland by local biopharmaceuticals company Aegros, which will also base its global headquarters in the state.
Currently based in Sydney, the company will build the manufacturing facility at BioPark Australia in Greater Springfield, with the facility is expected to have a peak output capacity of one million litres of blood plasma products when operational.
Aegros founding executive chair Professor Hari Nair said that the patented Haemafrac process deployed at the facility is twice as effective as the plasma fractionating process traditionally used.
He added that there is only one other plasma fractionating company in Australia, CSL, which serves 53 per cent of Australia’s plasma product needs. The remainder is imported.
Aegros also plans to deepen its relationship with the University of Queensland by establishing a Centre for Bioseparation Excellence. Professor Hari noted that both his professorship and that of Aergos chief scientific officer emeritus professor Stephen Maler are from the university.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick expects that 348 long-term jobs will be created in the first four years of operation, with another 230 jobs created during the two-year construction phase.
“I congratulate Aegros on their move north, which will bring more good, highly-skilled jobs for Queenslanders,” Mr Dick said.
The government is currently executing its ten-year biomedical roadmap, initially outlined in 2016, which included $4 million to “support and attract biomedical enterprises” and transform the state into an Asia-Pacific biomedical hub.
Professor Nair said he is thrilled to begin the next stage of the company’s commercialisation journey.
“The global and Australian market for safe, secure and affordable therapeutic plasma and blood products is only increasing,” Professor Nair said.
“Coupled with Aegros’ significant R&D capability, in collaboration with Queensland’s medical community and universities we are looking to develop new plasma therapies to address diseases with unmet therapeutic needs.”
The patented Haemafrac process has taken a fractured pathway to scale after first being invented in 1986. A pilot scale Haemafrac plant was incorporated into a facility in Singapore in 2014 and received good manufacturing practice approval in 2016.
However, in April 2017 Professor Hari, John Manusu, and Dr Kailing Wang left Singapore-based biotech startup PrIME Biologics to found Aegros. They believed reaching a commercial scale for a plasma fractionation facility was not possible with the firm, according to the Aegros website.
Aegros eventually acquired the Haemafrac plant and intellectual property from Singapore in October 2020.
Professor Hari said in a press conference that “after 37 years of working on this project, together with my business partner John Manusu, this is a wonderful, significant, tear drop bringing moment”.
The global export market for therapeutic plasma products is worth around $19 billion.
BioPark Australia is a 92-hectare initiative by the Springfield City Group to establish a biologic industries precinct, which would co-locate therapeutics, vaccines, MedTech, diagnostics, and wellbeing companies.
In the federal government’s October budget, $12.6 million was committed to supporting development of the United States-headquarted BioTech company Cytiva’s development at the BioPark.
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