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  • The global appeal of Melbourne's innovative medical sector for conferences

    December 14, 2023

    Melbourne’s reputation as a top destination for medical conferences has just skyrocketed, with the announcement that global giant BioNTech is creating a research and manufacturing facility in Melbourne’s La Trobe University campus, in partnership with the Victorian Government.

    In addition to drugs and vaccines, the new facility will produce next generation mRNA vaccines and treatments for clinical trials as well as research-grade RNA materials, enabling local researchers and biotechnology companies to tap into BioNTech’s world-leading expertise in developing immunotherapies.

    Included in the agreement is BioNTech’s clinical cancer program to deliver precision oncology therapies for hard-to-treat cancers for up to 4,000 Australians over the next 10 years.

    BioNTech will also establish an innovation centre in Melbourne’s Parkville medical district to support the commercialisation of local research, helping fast-track new therapies from the lab to patients.

    The agreement will see BioNTech’s artificial intelligence (AI) subsidiary InstaDeep, which is leading the development of an AI-driven early warning system for potential pandemics, set up its Australian head office in Victoria.

    With Moderna already building a major hub in Victoria, the state will become the only place in the world where both mRNA leaders host R&D and manufacturing operations. Victoria will be the only place in the Southern Hemisphere making mRNA vaccines.

    BioNTech establishing in Melbourne

    Sector fast facts


    Now home to 70 per cent of Australia’s top pharmaceutical and medtech companies*, Melbourne’s medical and science infrastructure enables advanced therapeutic research, development and commercialisation in all pharmaceutical areas including sophisticated drug, regenerative medicine and mRNA innovations.


    Melbourne is home to:

    • The Biomedical Precinct - made up of over 40 hospitals, medical research institutes, biotechnology organisations and universities
    • The Advanced Genomics Collaboration - a biomedical and economic powerhouse using genomics to create world-leading projects that improve health for everyone
    • Australia's largest biotech ecosystem, delivering a whopping 60 per cent of Australia's pharmaceutical exports
    • Global companies increasingly performing early phase clinical trials in Melbourne, thanks to its streamlined regulatory processes and diverse participant pools 

    Victoria’s investment is leading to outstanding innovation

    Since 2017, the Victorian Government has invested more than $20.4 million to advance Victoria’s medical research sector – putting Victoria at the forefront of medical research innovation and generating opportunities for clinical trials, while improving health outcomes for people across the state.

    One success story to come out of the Victorian Government’s medical research acceleration fund is Avipep, awarded $100,000 in 2021 to accelerate its work on novel engineered antibodies and attached cytotoxic drugs to treat fast-growing cancer, multiple myeloma.

    A testament to the world-class medical research being undertaken in Victoria, Avipep has now successfully tested their ADCs in killing human tumour cells at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, paving the way for future work, and eventually, human clinical trials.

    World Cancer Leaders’ Summit coming to Melbourne

    With initiatives such as BioNTech further solidifying Melbourne’s reputation as a global power in medical research and innovation, more and more associations are looking to the destination to host their future medical conferences and summits.

    In fact, almost 40 per cent of conferences secured by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) for 2024 hail from the medical and healthcare sector, including the:

    • International Congress of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
    • Congress of International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism
    • 19th World Congress on Menopause
    • International Symposium on Oncology Pharmacy Practice and;
    • XXVII IFSO World Congress of Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery

    MCB also recently secured the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS) for November 2025 – one of the flagship events hosted by the Union for International Cancer Control and a major high-level policy meeting dedicated exclusively to furthering global cancer control.

    Include Melbourne in your next medical conference bid opportunity

    Reach out to the Melbourne Convention Bureau team to find out more about what Melbourne is doing in the medical and pharmaceuticals sector and how MCB can bring Team Melbourne together to successfully host your future renewable energy conference.

    *Source - MTPConnect, Medical Technology, Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Sector Competitiveness Plan, April 202