Vaccine company CSL Seqirus has announced the ‘topping out’ of the construction of its biggest investment project, its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Melbourne (pictured).
The facility will use innovative technology to produce seasonal and pandemic cell-based influenza vaccines, CSL Seqirus’ vaccine adjuvant technology (MF59), the world’s only approved human vaccine for Q fever and antivenoms for venomous creatures native to Australia.
The site in Tullamarine, Melbourne, will have a gross floor area of 28,400m2 across three key buildings.
Topping out has been marked by the completion of roof laying on these buildings, which will be used for seasonal and pandemic cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing, antivenoms and Q-Fever vaccine manufacturing and administration and laboratories.
It is on schedule to be operational in 2026 and will support Australia’s preparedness and responsiveness in a future pandemic crisis.
Jonah Smith, Vice President and Program Lead for the CSL Seqirus Tullamarine Manufacturing Facility, said: “This will be the only cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere and will provide access to Australian-made innovative vaccines and potentially lifesaving antivenoms.
“This facility will manufacture influenza vaccines for use in Australia and overseas, creating a supply chain worth more than $300 million annually to the Australian economy.”
In the site CSL is incorporating on-site renewable energy generation, electrifying the plant to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, conducting heat and water recovery.
This is also one of the first local manufacturing facilities to pursue 5 star ‘Green Star’ and Gold WELL certification.
Smith said: “The new site will also feature a digitally connected manufacturing environment, deploying advanced analytics that will drive innovation and optimise our manufacturing operations.
“This includes a fully automated and paperless manufacturing execution system that will support our highly skilled workforce to optimise production, improve quality control and reduce downtime.”
Jonathan Anderson, CSL Seqirus Executive Medical Director – International Regions, said cell-based vaccines were a significant innovation in influenza vaccine manufacturing as they address several limitations associated with traditional technologies.
Anderson said: “By making vaccines in cells, we can eliminate the introduction of egg-based mutations that can impact influenza vaccines.
“We’re seeing influenza return to pre-COVID levels and we’ve experienced early flu seasons in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres recently.
“Reducing the burden of influenza is a key focus for public health strategies and meeting demand for vaccines is an important aspect of those strategies.”
Over 200 million doses of cell-based influenza vaccines have been distributed worldwide by CSL Seqirus, with demand doubling in the Past two years.
Australia will soon be a major contributor in meeting this demand.
“In the event of an influenza pandemic, this facility would quickly switch to manufacturing strain-matched cell-based pandemic influenza vaccines.
“Cell-based technology offers scale and production time advantages over the traditional influenza vaccine manufacturing process, an important consideration for pandemic preparedness.”
Picture: CSL/Hamish Walsh/site progress