Covid rapid-screening system among 5 recipients of medical funding


The Australian Government is investing more than $36 million in five medical product manufacturing projects to fight Covid-19 and reduce reliance on overseas suppliers of medications.

Medical products are one of the six National Manufacturing Priorities and the funding has been delivered through the Translation and Integration streams of the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).

The funding includes $3 million to help Perth-based Avicena Systems scale up manufacturing of its Sentinel Covid-19 screening system, which can be used to rapidly test more than 90,000 people every day.

The system can be deployed at border checkpoints and airports, providing results within 35 minutes of a sample being collected, which is enough time to prevent an infectious person from boarding a flight.

In South Australia, Noumed Pharmaceuticals will receive $20 million towards construction of a new $85 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for prescription and over-the-counter medications. 

Noumed is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of pharmaceuticals but currently manufactures all of its products offshore. The new facility will see its Australian operations become almost entirely self-sufficient, while also creating hundreds of new jobs for South Australian workers.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said: “Quality medical products are central to any healthy society, but they can also be a centrepiece of a dynamic economy. That’s why we are supporting our manufacturers to grow and realise their potential in this expanding sector. 

“Importantly, our investments through our Modern Manufacturing Initiative are also helping to deliver strong job growth, with projects such as Noumed’s in South Australia set to create hundreds of opportunities for local workers.

“Products like Avicena’s screening system, which has broader infectious disease testing applications beyond Covid-19, also have the potential to create significant export earnings.

“Australia has already been a pioneer with the cochlear implant, the green whistle pain reliever and the cervical cancer vaccine – now it’s time we back the next great Aussie medical success story.”

Other successful medical products recipients under the Initiative are:

  • Cyclowest in WA, which will use its $2.5 million in funding to scale up its facility with a state-of-the-art cyclotron, which produces therapy radiopharmaceuticals that contribute to helping clinicians diagnose medical conditions, including cancer.
  • Vaxxas in Queensland, which will use its $4.4 million in funding to ramp up production of its world-leading patch vaccination device that is worn on the skin like a sticking plaster to deliver vaccines into the bloodstream.
  • GBS (APAC) in NSW, which will use its $6.3 million in funding to build a new medical device manufacturing facility to enable the commercialisation of technology for diagnostic tests.

The government also recently announced almost $14 million for space manufacturing under the Integration and Translation streams of the MMI. Announcements regarding successful applicants under the four remaining National Manufacturing Priority areas will follow soon.

The remaining sectors are, Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing, Food and Beverage, Recycling and Clean Energy, and Defence.

Given the strength of applications in this initial round, total funding has increased from $140 million to $200 million.

The MMI is the centrepiece of the government’s $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, designed to position Australia as a globally recognised, high-quality and sustainable manufacturing nation.

To learn more about the Strategy and the MMI visit


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