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Needle-free vaccine maker Vaxxas opens new manufacturing facility, HQ in Australia

Vaxxas, an Australian biotech developing needle-free vaccines, opened the doors to its new manufacturing digs in the country. The site will also serve as its global headquarters.

The 60,000-square-foot facility in Brisbane, Australia, will produce supplies for late-stage clinical trials and potentially support the company’s first commercial launches. Currently, many of the company’s programs are in phase 1 studies, including candidates targeting seasonal influenza and COVID-19. The company is also advancing a measles-rubella shot with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that’s slated for texting next year, the company said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Vaxxas is also preparing for a clinical evaluation of a pandemic influenza vaccine candidate under its contract with the United States’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

The company developed the so-called HD-MAP technology platform, which administers vaccines to immune cells directly below the skin’s surface through a patch.

Potential benefits of the technology, other than serving those who fear needles, include strong immune responses and eliminating the need for vaccine refrigeration, according to the biotech.

The Australian and Queensland governments chipped in funding for the new facility, some through Australia’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative which supports specialized infrastructure.

The plant marks a “significant investment” in the future of Australia and Queensland’s biotech sectors, Vaxxas said in its statement.

Vaxxas’ Queensland operations currently employ 130 people and the company plans to increase its headcount to 200 over the next three to five years. Other funding for clinical development has come from investors such as OneVentures and UniQuest who, among others, put in $23 million for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine work.