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mRNA Lecture: Enabling RNA Technology

June 6, 2023 @ 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm AEST

View Lecture Four recording below

About the series:

mRNA Victoria and BioMelbourne Network, are hosting a series of four lectures in the first half of 2023 for the Victorian RNA community.A networking session for attendees to foster new connections and nurture existing ones with each other will conclude each lecture event. Refreshments will be provided.These lectures present an opportunity for leading specialists in the RNA sector to share their knowledge with the local RNA community. The accompanying networking session following each lecture is also an opportunity to foster connections between researchers, industry and government so that synergies and collaboration opportunities can be discovered.

Click here to explore the mRNA Lecture Series

Lecture Four: Enabling RNA Technology (SOLD OUT)

The fourth lecture in the mRNA Victoria and BioMelbourne Network lecture series focuses on enabling technologies and their application for the development of RNA based products. The session will be chaired by Michelle McIntosh (Director, Medicine Manufacturing Innovation Centre) and will include presentations from three speakers followed by a Q&A panel discussion.The intended audience is those that have an interest in the development of RNA based candidates with an emphasis on the CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and control) considerations for progressing an asset through the clinic and eventual commercial production.

Our speakers will explore the following topics:

Exploring the genetic design space for enabling RNA therapeutics – Natalie Curach, Senior Director Business Development, Gingko BioworksPlatforms for mRNA engineering and delivery – Professor Frank Caruso, Melbourne Laureate Professor and NHMRC Leadership Fellow, The University of MelbourneFrom bench to patients: cGMP manufacture of mRNA therapeutics – Craig Sheehan, Senior Scientist, IDT Australia

Lecture Four event recording:

Video timestamps:

0.12 Welcome and opening remarks | Jeff Malone, CEO, BioMelbourne Network
5:31 Lecture 4 Introduction | Michelle Macintosh, Monash University
12:12 Exploring the genetic design space for enabling RNA therapeutics | Natalie Curach, Senior Director Business Development, Gingko Bioworks
26:27 Platforms for mRNA engineering and delivery | Professor Frank Caruso, Melbourne Laureate Professor and NHMRC Leadership Fellow, The University of Melbourne
45:47 From bench to patients: cGMP manufacture of mRNA therapeutics | Craig Sheehan, Senior Scientist, IDT Australia

About mRNA Victoria

mRNA Victoria is responsible for leading the Victorian Government’s commitment to establish a world-class mRNA and RNA industry in Victoria, by supporting supply chain, research and development for pre and clinical research, commercialisation and manufacturing investments.Its role is to identify key capabilities, gaps, opportunities and lead the Victorian Government’s engagement, investment and partnerships with domestic and international companies, researchers and stakeholders to build RNA capability.

This lecture series is delivered in partnership with mRNA Victoria and the State Government of Victoria




Professor Frank Caruso, Melbourne Laureate Professor | NHMRC Leadership Fellow The University of Melbourne

Frank Caruso is a Melbourne Laureate Professor and an NHMRC Leadership Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He received his PhD degree in 1994 from the University of Melbourne, and from 1994–1997 was at the CSIRO Division of Chemicals and Polymers in Melbourne.

He was an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow and group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Germany) from 1997–2002. From 2002–2012, he was an ARC Federation Fellow and from 2012–2017 an ARC Laureate Fellow at The University of Melbourne.

His research focuses on developing materials for biomedical applications. He has published over 550 peer-reviewed papers with more than 60,000 citations and is a highly cited researcher. He is an Executive Editor of the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of 10 other scientific journals. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2009 and of the Royal Society of London in 2018. He is the co-inventor of 33 patents. He is co-founder of Messenger Bio Pty Ltd (2021), a company that focuses on mRNA technologies.

Dr Natalie Curach, Senior Director Business Development, Gingko Bioworks

Natalie Curach is leading the Australian operations for Ginkgo Bioworks – a synthetic biology CRO with the leading horizontal platform for cell programming. Ginkgo applies machine learning with high throughput automation to enable small molecule and biologics discovery and manufacturing, cell and gene therapies, RNA therapeutics and vaccines.

Natalie has been at the forefront of the growth of Synthetic Biology in Australia commencing with the establishment of the Synthetic Biology Research Priority at Macquarie University and led the Synthetic Biology investments for Bioplatforms Australia. Natalie co-authored the Australian Government’s Synthetic Biology infrastructure investment plan which culminated into the opening of the Australian Genome Foundry. She was instrumental for the creation of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology and was the Chief Scientific Officer at Eden Brew for its founding year.

Natalie conducted her PhD on recombinant protein production in filamentous fungi, has a Graduate Diploma in Business Management and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Natalie has been invited to present at numerous international meetings and is well published in peer review journals and thought leadership papers such as for the World Economic Forum. Natalie has worked as a scientist in biotechnology research within startups, university and government laboratories before transitioning into business development, leadership roles and Directorships in building a thriving startup and biotechnology ecosystem in Australia. Natalie recently served as President of the Synthetic Biology Australasia Association, Co-Chair of the Global Biofoundry Alliance and Chair of HydGene Renewables

Dr Craig Sheehan, Senior Scientist, IDT Australia

Craig Sheehan is a member of IDT Australia’s R&D group, and played an integral role in a collaboration with the Monash University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences to complete Australia’s first cGMP manufacture of a mRNA vaccine clinical trial candidate.

IDT Australia’s R&D group translates bench scale processes to manufacturing scale under cGMP to enable first in human clinical trials that address unmet patient needs. IDT’s development expertise is vertically integrated, manufacturing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (new chemical entities) and formulating them into Finished Dosage Forms.

Craig has over twenty years’ experience in commercial contract research organisations including Mimotopes, Epichem and IDT Australia Ltd. His development experience includes process development to translate laboratory processes to plant scale manufacture under cGMP, small molecule preclinical drug discovery and the manufacture of pharmaceutical reference standards. He completed a PhD in organic chemistry at the University of Sydney and post-doctoral studies at Innsbruck University, Austria.

Jeff Malone, Chief Executive Officer, BioMelbourne Network

Jeff Malone has over thirty years of experience in business, export market development, product translation and design, commercialisation and manufacturing.

Jeff has worked in Australia since 2010, where he has established strong networks across the high-tech manufacturing, industrial design, research and commercialisation sectors, and has expertise in the medical, healthtech and defence sectors. Jeff is known and respected domestically and overseas. He works as a mentor and advisor to global innovation ecosystems and accelerator programs. He has a reputation for bringing stakeholders together to build commercial networks, broker innovation and advocate on behalf of the healthtech industry.

Jeff joined BioMelbourne Network as the CEO in July 2020. Prior to this, he worked in a senior leadership role with Design and Industry, building new markets for Australian product development across the US and Southeast Asia. He was also the COO for Grey Innovation.

Before this, Jeff served as General Manager Australia with SRXGlobal, Australia’s largest medical and defence contract electronics manufacturer, which was awarded 2014 Large Manufacturer of the Year in Victoria.

Jeff spent the previous 20 years working in product design, market development, commercialisation and manufacturing in Mexico and South America, Thailand, China and Indonesia.


June 6, 2023
4:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


BioMelbourne Network
+61 3 9667 8181


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