New Griffith University site for the Translational Science Hub brings global vaccine research and development to the Gold Coast

Dr Iris Depaz, Professor Carolyn Evans and Acting Deputy Director General Mark Tierney officially welcome Sanofi to Griffith University

Sanofi, one of the world’s leading healthcare companies, has progressed its partnership with Griffith University by officially opening its latest research site at the university’s Gold Coast campus, which will bring global biomedical research and development (R&D) to the Coast.

The partnership forms part of the Translational Science Hub (TSH), an exciting collaboration that links world-class researchers in Queensland, and now the Gold Coast, with scientists at the Sanofi mRNA Centre of Excellence in France and the United States to develop the next generation of immunisations.

A first of its kind, TSH is a $280 million partnership between Sanofi, the Queensland Government, Griffith University, and the University of Queensland that is putting the Sunshine State at the forefront of mRNA vaccine development and biomedical research in Australia.

Operating at the cutting-edge of science, Griffith University offers state-of-the art technology and leading experts in infectious disease, vaccine development and mRNA technology, presenting strong foundations for successful research collaboration in mRNA science.

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans.
Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said: “Queensland is home to world-class research facilities and a highly-skilled workforce driving the development of new vaccines and healthcare breakthroughs. The fact that Sanofi, one of the world’s largest healthcare companies, chose Queensland to reshape 21st century medicine is a strong sign of things to come, and a significant milestone for the Gold Coast and Griffith University.”

The Translational Science Hub will initially focus on the evaluation of a new generation of mRNA vaccines. mRNA is expected to herald new vaccines that instruct certain cells to produce proteins that are recognised by the immune system to mount a defence.

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans said: “This partnership sees Griffith University as a burgeoning biotech hub on the Gold Coast, paving the way for research and discoveries that can change people’s lives for the better. Griffith is already producing innovative research and a partnership of this ilk is a sign the Gold Coast is at the epicentre of groundbreaking science.”

Researchers based on the Gold Coast will use Griffith University infrastructure and technology to better understand mRNA vaccine technology, which will help to optimise the platform to produce better vaccines and expand its use in the development of therapies to treat a variety of diseases.

First-of-its-kind vaccines for chlamydia, acne and even some cancers, plus improved vaccines for influenza and RSV, will be developed on the Gold Coast and across Queensland.

Professor Lee Smith

Griffith Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Lee Smith said: “We welcome Sanofi and the Translational Science Hub to our Gold Coast campus. This partnership gives our researchers and students a unique opportunity to work on the very latest science with a global healthcare leader.”

Dr Iris Depaz

Sanofi operates 20 research and development sites around the world exploring new medicines and vaccines. This includes translational science, where researchers work to translate early observations in the laboratory into clinical results that directly benefit people.

Dr Iris Depaz, Managing Director TSH & Country Medical Lead, Sanofi Australia and New Zealand said: “The opening of this Gold Coast site is another important milestone for the Translational Science Hub. It provides a space for our scientists to be physically located close to our collaborators at Griffith University to facilitate engagement and exchange. We want to play a major role in growing the scientific ecosystem in Queensland because there is a strong talent pool of some of the brightest medical minds right here in the Sunshine State.”

In Australia, Sanofi is a major supplier of 18 vaccines with eight on the National Immunisation Program (NIP). The company has over 50 medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and six rare disease therapies on the Life Saving Drugs Program. Sanofi also has a consumer health business and manufacturing facility located in Brisbane.