What is the mRNA Victoria Activation Program (mAP)?
The mRNA Victoria Activation Program (mAP) is a grant opportunity seeking to support strong ideas that will grow Victoria’s capability in RNA research and development and manufacturing to create a viable and self-sustaining end-to-end ecosystem for producing world-leading RNA-based medical products.
Victoria continues to build its mRNA capabilities with the announcement of its mRNA Victoria Activation Program (mAP), the largest dedicated mRNA research grant fund in Australia, which seeks to support bold new ideas that will grow Victoria’s capability in RNA research, development and manufacturing, contributing to a viable and self-sustaining end-to-end ecosystem for producing world-leading RNA-based medical products.
The $21 million mRNA Victoria Activation Program will capture new research and innovations that significantly contribute to growing the RNA ecosystem. It joins the recently announced first round of the mRNA Victoria Research Acceleration fund which is supporting early-stage research, providing a total of $25 million in grant funding to support growth of Victoria’s leading mRNA sector. Open to businesses, universities, medical research institutes and overseas partners, with the majority of project activities conducted and led in Victoria, Round One is now open, with Round Two of mAP scheduled to open in April 2022.
mAP provides broad based support to grow the RNA ecosystem, including support for clinical research and projects looking to develop enabling technology such as artificial intelligence, next generation manufacturing, safety testing and alternative vaccine delivery methods.
The mRNA Victoria Activation Program aims to support the development of novel products, processes or services that address an area of need for developing an RNA ecosystem that supports commercialisation and a strong pipeline of RNA therapeutic candidates.
The mRNA Victoria Activation Program encourages Applicants with bold ideas that will significantly contribute to growing the RNA ecosystem and requests that Applicants provide a realistic indication of the level of funding and time required to achieve these outcomes for their project.
The Program doesn’t require a co-contribution from Applicants, however in order to better leverage government funding and provide value for money, projects with an applicant co-contribution will be highly regarded.
The Program will support projects across the two streams:
Accelerating Translation Stream – Projects focused on building foundational capabilities that enable the acceleration of early-stage discoveries through to viable and effective products. Priority themes include:
- Software tools (e.g. in silico product design, enhancing mRNA sequence design to optimise stability, translatability and immunogenicity, manufacturing simulations)
- Next generation manufacturing of RNA (e.g. innovations in synthesis efficiency, quality/purity, mRNA stability, translation efficiency and immunogenicity, modular and continuous flow approaches, transportable manufacturing capabilities)
- Safety testing (e.g. immunology)
- Enhanced/alternative mRNA delivery (e.g. novel lipids, route of delivery and tissue targeting)
Support the Pipeline Stream – Projects that progress development of novel, or enhance existing, RNA-based therapeutics, vaccines, or tools. Priority themes include:
- Enabling dose reduction (self-amplifying or alternative processes)
- RNA Pandemic preparedness (COVID)
- Other RNA-based therapeutic candidates
Projects should address a capability or therapeutic gap, or seek to improve existing processes to strive towards developing a world-leading collaborative RNA ecosystem in Victoria that has a strong pipeline of therapeutic candidates able to be rapidly translated and commercialised into viable treatments to address the current and emerging health needs of the Asia-Pacific region.
- Projects submitted under the Accelerating Translation Stream should:
- be focused on developing enabling capabilities that will have broad-based benefit to the RNA ecosystem through developing novel processes, services or technologies that will improve the manufacturing efficiency, quality, safety or delivery of RNA therapeutics and vaccines; and
- ensure appropriate access arrangements are provided for other research and industry users to ensure broad-based benefits are delivered to grow the RNA ecosystem (i.e. through commercial or collaborative arrangements).
- Projects submitted under the Support the Pipeline Stream should be focused on developing the next generation of RNA-based medical products to grow Victoria’s reputation as a global-leader in pharmaceutical research and development.
- Medical products of interest could include (but are not limited to) vaccines, cancer therapeutics including cell therapies, treatments for rare-diseases and treatments for priority diseases in the Asia-Pacific region.
- RNA-based modalities of interest could include (but are not limited to) mRNA, siRNA, saRNA, microRNA, CRISPR-Cas9 gRNA etc.
The Program will support projects across all stages of the research and development and commercialisation lifecycle including early-stage research, screening and prototyping, translation and clinical research and commercialisation.
In addition to the eligibility requirements, projects that include one or more of the following will be highly regarded:
- The lead proponent or one of the project collaborators is an early to mid-career researcher
- A specific focus on emerging diseases in the Asia-Pacific region or technology that will enable rapid response to emerging diseases and future pandemics in the Asia-Pacific region.
Projects selected for funding will be at the sole discretion of mRNA Victoria.
Applicant organisations must meet the following criteria, as assessed by DJPR, to be eligible:
- Hold an active Australian Business Number (ABN);
- Be one of the following entity types;
- a company incorporated pursuant to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission; or
- an incorporated association incorporated pursuant to the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (VIC) or equivalent legislation of another Australian jurisdiction;
- an education body (including universities) established by statute; or
- other incorporated entity approved by DJPR.
Applicants must attest that:
- the project activities will predominately be led from and conducted in Victoria; and
- they will participate in future program evaluation activities.
Applications close 19 January 2022.
13 December 2021 – Record Support For Breakthrough mRNA Research
Victoria is leading the nation in mRNA research to fast-track sovereign manufacturing and health-care breakthroughs, today announcing the largest ever dedicated mRNA research grant program seen in Australia.
Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy Jaala Pulford unveiled the $21 million mRNA Victoria Activation Program (mAP) which will support bold ideas to grow Victoria’s RNA research, development and manufacturing capability.
The mAP is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s $50 million commitment to mRNA Victoria, which is preparing the ground for large-scale mRNA manufacturing.