Just eight McKinsey staff used on $2.5m, three-month govt mRNA contract

Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

Just eight McKinsey staff are being used on the company’s $2.5 million, three-month contract to provide advice to the federal government on local mRNA vaccine manufacturing, with the global consulting giant now having been paid just under $7 million in 2021 for this work.

The Industry department has contracted McKinsey to provide advice on establishing an Australian mRNA vaccine manufacturing capability since the end of last year, across three separate contracts and a number of contract amendments.

The current contract runs until 20 December and is worth more than $2.5 million. In response to a Labor question on notice, the industry department revealed that eight McKinsey staff are working to provide advice to the government under this contract, which is worth more than $620,000 per month.

Parliament House
The $7 million worth of McKinsey mRNA research will be kept secret

The department also recently awarded McKinsey a contract amendment worth just under $500,000 for a further two weeks work.

The government confirmed that all the advice provided by McKinsey, including the business case for onshore mRNA vaccine manufacturing, will remain secret and won’t be released to the public.

McKinsey is providing specialist knowledge on the pharmaceutical industry, mRNA vaccine technology, professional modelling and analytics, the department said.

“McKinsey has fit-for-purpose capabilities and subject-matter knowledge to deliver the requested work,” it said.

It comes just weeks after it was revealed that just seven McKinsey personnel had done the work to provide a $1.2 million net-zero emissions modelling report to the industry department.

On Christmas Eve last year the department handed McKinsey a $2.2 million contract to produce a business case for the local manufacturing of mRNA vaccines, running to 23 March.

Two months after the conclusion of that work, McKinsey landed another contract, this time worth $2.1 million to assist with the industry department’s approach to market for companies and consortia looking to provide an end-to-end blueprint for this manufacturing capability.

This contract ran until mid-August. Just a week after it came to an end, McKinsey landed a third contract for its mRNA advice, originally worth $1.5 million. This value was eventually increased to $2.6 million across two contract amendments, and runs until 20 December.

The federal government has now paid McKinsey just under $6.9 million across 12 months to provide advice and produce a business case on local mRNA vaccine manufacturing, before a successful bidder for this work has even been selected.

Industry is still eagerly awaiting to hear which company or group of companies was successful in this tender process and will receive significant Commonwealth funding to establish onshore mRNA manufacturing facilities.

The industry department also paid McKinsey $6 million this year to provide modelling for its net-zero emissions by 2050 plan. The government opted for the global consultancy over its own science agency for the work.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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