New facilities for Westmead and Camperdown

New facilities for Westmead and Camperdown

clinical staff working in a lab

Kids Research welcomes the NSW government’s funding boost for biomedical research, putting the state at the forefront of cutting-edge health treatments.

The NSW Government has secured $270 million, announced in the state budget, to go towards two new facilities; the Viral Vector manufacturing facility at Westmead and the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator Complex in Camperdown. Premier, Dominic Perrottet, says this is a significant investment in a growing industry that will help deliver what matters to make daily life better for the people of NSW.

The Viral Vector Manufacturing Facility project located at the Westmead Health and Innovation Precinct is a collaboration between NSW Treasury, Investment NSW and NSW Health entities including Health Infrastructure, Office of Health and Medical Research, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) and with support from Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) and Western Sydney Local Health District.

Acting Director of Research at SCHN, Dr Paula Bray, says greater access to these cutting-edge advanced therapies brings new hope to families across Australia.

“Viral vector manufacturing capability close to where research and clinical care are delivered is a significant milestone. This significant boost strengthens the thriving research ecosystem and importantly will accelerate the delivery of important and life-changing therapies,” she said.

Based at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), SCHN is home to one of the only viral vector manufacturing facilities in Australia, after a $25 million start-up investment from the NSW Department of Health in 2019 and seed funding from the NSW Office of Health and Medical Research (OHMR) in partnership with Luminesce Alliance to establish a pilot viral vector manufacturing facility.

Kids Research building front entrance

Viral vectors are modified viruses used as a vehicle to safely deliver vaccines and gene therapies into the cells of a patient with a genetic condition. They are key components of gene therapies for rare genetic diseases and cell therapies for cancer. 

One of the world’s leading gene therapy experts, Professor Ian Alexander, Head of the Gene Therapy Unit, a joint initiative of CMRI and CHW, is part of the viral vector manufacturing facility project and says the funding is very timely given the explosion of therapeutic possibilities.

“Repairing faulty genes is like fixing a spelling error in a document, a possibility we could have only dreamed of five years ago. That level of precision and the capacity to do so, is now a reality and the benefits to human health will be profound,” he said.