Australian innovation pilot aims to reduce cost of vaccination in developing world


A plastic vial the size of your little finger marks a breakthrough in the manufacture of vaccinations. GSK has opened a new pilot vaccine facility in Australia to manufacture a vaccine testing a new production method developed by an Australian-led team. If successful, it is hoped the new method could help to reduce overall vaccination costs which could help more children in developing countries access potentially life saving vaccines .

Developed by the local GSK team in Boronia, working in partnership with Monash University and global vaccine experts in Belgium, the new vial is the result of a ground-breaking way to manufacture vaccines, using blow-fill-seal technology.

At significant volumes, blow-fill-seal (BFS) technology is an efficient, cost effective way to manufacture high quality sterile products.  No other technology does this with such a small production footprint and without the need for a supply chain of aseptic components.

However, previously it was thought vaccines could not be manufactured in this way as the blow-fill-seal production method would damage the vaccine.

This project is a tangible example of how industry and universities, supported by the Federal Government, can form partnerships that grow manufacturing locally

Geoff McDonald, GM GSK Australia

“The significance of this initiative should not be underestimated for pharmaceutical manufacturing in Australia,” said Mr Geoff McDonald, General Manager, GSK Australia

To support the first run of commercial production of vaccines with the blow-fill-seal technology, a new pilot facility has opened at Boronia. GSK has invested $7.7 million in this new facility.  It is supported by a $1 million grant through the Federal Government’s Manufacturing Transition Programme.

“This project is a tangible example of how industry and universities, supported by the Federal Government, can form partnerships that grow manufacturing locally,” said Mr McDonald.

Supporting greater access to vaccines is at the heart of GSK’s business. With the exception of clean drinking water, no intervention has rivalled vaccination in its ability to save lives.