The federal government has put out a nationwide call to local manufacturers seeking information as part of preparation to produce future vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 at scale.
The request for information represents an assessment of local capability, with submissions used to determine the extent to which the production and distribution can be supported in Australia, once an effective vaccine candidate is found.
Industry Minister Karen Andrews said Australia already has significant capability in manufacturing vaccines. CSL – the former Commonwealth Serum Laboratories – is a global leader and already manufactures flu vaccines in this country.
Astra Zenica is another global company with significant bio manufacturing capability in Australia.
The request for information issued on Tuesday casts a wide net, seeking to better understand what niche manufacturers out there that can pivot, or who are able to manufacture components to assist in vaccine production.
“Australian scientists are at the heart of the global quest for a vaccine and we want to make sure Australian manufacturers can be central to the production once that vaccine is found,” Minister Andrews said.
“Australia already has impressive capability when it comes to producing vaccines, which as a government we are well aware of. This request for information is about identifying more niche manufacturers, including those who may be able to pivot or have the capability but would need support to scale up their operations,” she said.
“This information will help prepare Australia for the future as well, building our knowledge and strengthening our manufacturing capability to respond to other pandemics down the track.”
“This is not a request for tender, but a request to manufacturers to tell us what they can do.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the request for information seeks additional expressions of interest from those who could contribute to any part of the vaccine research, production or distribution process.
“We are confident these actions and investments will secure early and sufficient access to vaccine identified as safe and effective.”
Local manufacturers can find more detail and learn where to make submissions here.