Innovation series: Parnell hub houses next gen of billion-dollar innovators

On level two of a 1950s building nestled in an Auckland central suburb lies a gray corridor leading to laboratories and workshops where some of New Zealand’s greatest innovation success stories were born.
The Parnell site named Level Two is now home to the next cluster of ground-breaking innovators who are set to ‘change the world’ with their technological inventions.

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Argenta expands into Europe with Scottish manufacturing site

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Argenta expands into Europe with Scottish manufacturing site
April 3, 2017, AUCKLAND – Argenta, a New Zealand-owned company that creates, develops and manufactures products for the global animal health industry, has purchased its first EU manufacturing facility in Dundee, Scotland, and will kick off operations on April 3rd, 2017.
Argenta has acquired the 81,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and operational business from global animal pharmaceutical company, Elanco Animal Health, to grow its presence in the European market.
The Kiwi company’s expansion into the EU follows its successful move into the United States in 2016, with the opening of a large-scale manufacturing facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“Our expansion into the US last year resulted in unprecedented interest in our business, which has both increased the demand for our services in the US and Europe, and brought more research business to New Zealand,” says Argenta’s CEO and founder, Dr. Doug Cleverly.
The 118 former Elanco employees based at the Dundee site have been welcomed into Argenta’s global team, which works across five international sites in New Zealand, the United States and United Kingdom.
Cleverly says: “Having a group of highly-skilled, locally-based employees, along with an excellent manufacturing facility and site, gives us great confidence as we launch into the EU market. Argenta Dundee gives us the resources, expertise and technical capabilities to continue to grow our European footprint, and to further improve the breadth of services we can offer to our growing global client-base.”
He continues: “The new site will greatly complement our other Argenta manufacturing sites, which are fuelled by the research and development of new products.”
Argenta Dundee encompasses a recently modernised manufacturing plant, laboratories and warehouse spaces for the production of high-quality animal health products, including non-sterile liquids, suspensions, and gels. It also expands Argenta’s service offering to include low-dose tube filling, small bottle pouch filling, labelling and packaging.
After some initial restructuring, Argenta plans to grow the new Dundee operation, supported by a commercial supply agreement with Elanco Animal Health.
Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International, the Government’s organisation to attract overseas business, says of Argenta’s purchase: “Investors are continuing to look to Scotland for new and expansion projects and Argenta’s investment reflects yet another vote of confidence in our flourishing life sciences industry. It is testament to the strength of our skilled workforce and our supportive business infrastructure that Argenta has selected Dundee for the next stage of its European expansion and we look forward to working with the company to grow its business in Scotland.”
The new beginning for the Dundee site will be commemorated at an official event on 3rd April 2017, attended by Dr Cleverly, Argenta Dundee’s head of site Stephen Sibson, Argenta staff and Scottish VIPs.
– ENDS    –
About Argenta
Argenta is a global provider of drug product development, innovative delivery technologies and contract manufacturing services. Dedicated to the animal health industry, Argenta was founded in 2006 in South Auckland, New Zealand.  In January 2016, the company opened a new, 145,000-square-feet manufacturing facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa, to complement its New Zealand operations and support continued growth in the United States. The acquisition followed the company’s opening of a drug product research laboratory in the world-renowned science precinct of Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas in 2012, and the purchase of a New Jersey-based clinical contract research subsidiary, AlcheraBio, in 2008.
Argenta works with 9 of the top 10 global animal health pharmaceutical companies as well as innovative startup firms. The company exports products and services to over 40 countries including United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. argentaglobal.com
About Scottish Development International
Scottish Development International (SDI) is a government organization which helps overseas businesses tap into Scotland’s key strengths in knowledge, high-level skills, technology and innovation. SDI also works to help Scottish companies do more business overseas and to promote Scotland as a good place to live and work. Its work is guided by the Scottish Government’s strategy for economic development in Scotland. sdi.co.uk
For more information, contact:
Zara Coleman
Mabel Maguire
Phone: +64 21 277 2767
Email: zara@mabelmaguire.co.nz

Connect Mentorship Programme

Chiasma is a national organisation which helps University science and technology students to develop successful careers in the industry by providing them with the important skills, networks, and attitudes. In turn, these innovative, well-connected and commercially aware graduates will contribute to the growth of New Zealand’s knowledge-based economy.

Chiasma would like to invite you to take part in its Connect Mentorship Programme, which connects high calibre university students with industry professionals in the science and technology sector. This is Chiasma’s most valuable programme, and it continues to grow and improve each year.

The expected time commitment is over 20 weeks comprising one hour every fortnight,  a launch event in May, a mid-programme networking event in July, and a closing event in September. The events allow for networking with other industry mentors. Chiasma will provide a short induction workshop at the launch event about how to be an effective mentor and how to get the most out of the programme. You will be provided with suggested discussion topics and support throughout the programme.

Our goal is for you to have a positive impact on your mentee’s career path, meet the leaders of tomorrow and to gain additional leadership and management skills.

“The mentorship programme is truly rewarding, by providing the mentees with the opportunity to gain from the mentors’ experience and expertise” – Past mentor.

Chiasma welcomes all professionals regardless of position, although some science and technology background or education would be a plus! If you are interested in participating in the programme as a mentor, or know of a colleague who may be interested, please get in touch with Chiasma’s Industry Team Lead before April 6th at Ellie.Whelan@chiasma.org.nz

BioLineRx Announces Acquisition of Agalimmune Ltd. to Accelerate Expansion of Immuno-Oncology Pipeline

Tel Aviv, Israel – March 23, 2017 – BioLineRx Ltd. (NASDAQ/TASE: BLRX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology and immunology, announced today that it has acquired Agalimmune Ltd., a private UK-based company with an innovative, anti-cancer immunotherapy platform. Acquisition consideration consisted of a $6 million upfront payment, of which $3 million is in cash and the remainder in BioLineRx shares.  Additional future payments may be made based on development and commercial milestones.
Agalimmune’s lead compound is AGI-134, a synthetic alpha-Gal immunotherapy in development for solid tumors. AGI-134 harnesses the body’s pre-existing, highly abundant anti-alpha-Gal antibodies to induce a systemic, specific anti-tumor response to the patient’s own tumor neo-antigens. This response not only kills the tumor cells at the site of injection, but also brings about a durable, follow-on, anti-metastatic immune response.

MEDIA RELEASE: ArcAngels and NZVIF to invest in women-led startups

MEDIA RELEASE: ArcAngels and NZVIF to invest in women-led startups

20 March 2017

ArcAngels – the women-led angel investment group focused on women entrepreneurs – and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund are partnering to invest into women-led start-up companies.
The Auckland-based angel investor group was formed in 2014 and now has 25 members, most of whom are experienced business leaders, investors or have been involved in establishing businesses previously.  Its members includes Fletcher Building director Cecilia Tarrant, Alex Mercer from Xero, entrepreneur Kate O’Leary, Madison Group’s Wynnis Armour, and private equity fund manager and Reserve Bank director Bridget Coates.
ArcAngels chair Cecilia Tarrant said the group hopes to replicate the success of the New York-based, women-led angel group, Golden Seeds, one of the leading success stories in angel investment in the US Since 2005, Golden Seeds has invested over US$80 million in more than 76 women-led companies.
“A Silicon Valley venture capital firm First Round Capital analysed 300 of its portfolio companies and almost 600 founders, and found that the teams with at least one female founder did 63 percent better than the all-male founder teams. The 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Report said that the trend for female entrepreneurs is significantly up, with the number of female founders in the global startup ecosystem growing by 80 percent over the preceding three years.
“Our principal aim is to make successful investments.  But we also want to empower more women entrepreneurs, strengthen their competitiveness and maximise the success of New Zealand’s small business engine for greater economic growth in the long term.
“Many of our members are experienced angel investors with the capacity and capability to be able to provide mentoring and ongoing support to the female-led ventures the group invests into. We want to leverage the expertise and experience of other active angel groups in order to increase deal flow and investment opportunities.”
This is the seventeenth partnership NZVIF has entered into through its Seed Co-Investment Fund.  To date, NZVIF and its angel partners have co-invested around $142 million into over 150 companies.
NZVIF investment director Bridget Unsworth said that under the co-investment arrangements, when ArcAngels invests into a new company, NZVIF will match the investments dollar-for-dollar, giving both investors and entrepreneurs confidence that the investment round will be successfully completed.
“The partnership is expected to invest into around 10 to 15 young companies during the first 12 to 18 months. With NZVIF committing on a matching 1:1 basis, it doubles the capital available to a company than would be the case if we did not have the partnership.
“The past year has seen continued healthy investment activity across New Zealand with over $60 million invested by angel funds and groups.  There is a healthy level of syndication of investments between different angel groups meaning they are likely to invest in opportunities throughout New Zealand.  Early stage investing is a high risk investment class and so diversification is important.”
Background Information
ArcAngels
ArcAngels was established in 2014 and is based in Auckland.  It invests only in companies with a woman founder or with a woman in senior management.  It currently has 25 members but aims to double its size over the next 12 months.  Membership is open to all qualified investors, both women and men.  It has made seven investments including companies like Pictor, Fuel 50, Acuite and Engender.
NZVIF’s Seed Co-investment Fund
NZVIF is involved with angel investors through its Seed Co-investment Fund (known as SCIF).  SCIF was established in 2005 to catalyse the growth of angel investment and has now invested into over 160 start-up companies.  Its portfolio includes companies like StretchSense, Hydroworks, Engender, Vesper Marine and Rockit Apples.
Media contacts
NZVIF: David Lewis, m: 021 976 119, david@thompsonlewis.co.nz
ArcAngels: Alex Mercer, m: 021 502 112, alex@arcangels.co.nz

Gene editing research needed in NZ to understand the technology

The use of the controversial process of gene editing could offer benefits to agriculture in the field of animal welfare and the environment, a Livestock Improvement Corporation scientist says.

Dr  Bevin Harris said the new technology was in early stages of development and not universally accepted, but New Zealand needed to be aware that other countries might be working on it.

A form of genetic engineering, gene editing allows DNA to be inserted , deleted or replaced in the genome of an organism.

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Lysosomal Diseases New Zealand

Press release 28 February 2017 (Rare Disease Day).

Pharma company gives up on Pharmac – Gives drug free to NZ patients.

Sanofi Genzyme developed Myozyme, a complex biological treatment for Pompe disease, a Lysosomal disease, over ten years ago. Since that time funded treatment of affected patients has spread to 76 countries. Over that decade, NZ’s drug purchasing agency Pharmac has consistently refused to fund it, leaving the 10 patients here abandoned and facing relentless decline in their health and quality of life.

After substantial renewed efforts to negotiate with Pharmac, and with a recent recommendation from Pharmac’s PTAC committee, released early February, that funding should be declined, the company has decided to provide the treatment free to 4 NZ patients. See below for the company’s statement from their Australia & New Zealand General Manager, Fiona Clark.

Chair of Lysosomal Disease New Zealand, John Forman, has thanked Sanofi Genzyme for its generous contribution to the health and wellbeing of these four patients. “It is very nice to see a Pharma company that is prepared to make such a significant contribution without any reimbursement. These companies often get bad press, so this generous act should be noted and the company congratulated and thanked”.

Pompe disease was the subject of a petition and campaign by LDNZ late last year. Subsequently 4 patients were accepted onto a clinical trial of a new Pompe treatment in Adelaide, and one patient died in late December, leaving 4 in urgent need of treatment.

“Sanofi Genzyme had been working on a new application to Pharmac for over a year,” says Forman. “We had great hopes that a new Pharmac policy relating to drugs for rare diseases, and a new set of factors for consideration in their decision making, might lead to some real change in Pharmac’s response to this application. We looked for signs that the inherent disadvantage of rarity in terms of data, evidence and costs, would lead to a different response from Pharmac. We expected Pharmac to consider equity and the reduction of disparities, which are principles that underpin our health system, and we wanted to see active consideration of community values of fairness and a helping hand for those most vulnerable. But the PTAC minutes show scant consideration of anything but evidence and costs.”

LDNZ is frustrated that once again, treatments for very rare diseases are given a direct comparison in cost-effectiveness with treatments for common diseases, leading to almost automatic failure for the Myozyme application. Forman says it is particularly frustrating given PTAC’s acknowledgement of a significant price reduction offered by Sanofi Genzyme.

The 4 patients’ treatment is expected to begin within weeks. They are no longer abandoned to die by our health system, in contravention of the right to health.

Contact for enquiries:

John Forman

Chair, Lysosomal Diseases New Zealand www.ldnz.org.nz

125 Cuba St, Petone 5012

New Zealand

Mobile +64 27 240 3377

Fighting the good penguin fight

South African yellow-eyed penguin specialist Dr Lisa Argilla has spent the past two months spearheading the temporary “Hoiho Hospital” at the Otago Polytechnic School of Veterinary Nursing in Dunedin. Margot Taylor looks at what Dr Argilla calls her “life”.

Wildlife veterinarian Dr Lisa Argilla spends her days  cleaning up waste,  feeding hungry tummies and doing “at least” 20 loads of washing.

But it is not babies she is looking after, rather injured yellow-eyed penguins.

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Genetically modified ryegrasses developed in NZ head offshore for field testing

Genetically modified grass that could lower farming’s environmental footprint will be taken offshore next year for field testing.

Developed by AgResearch at their Grasslands site in Palmerston North, the plants will be shipped to the United States for testing outside because of New Zealand’s strict GM laws.

Research on the potted plants was still at the proof of concept stage of development, AgResearch dairy sector manager Shane Devlintold farmers and rural professionals at a presentation in Te Awamutu.

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PRESS RELEASE: Argenta Enters Agreement to Acquire Elanco Animal Health’s Manufacturing Operations in Dundee, Scotland

February 7, 2017, AUCKLAND – Argenta, a New Zealand-owned company dedicated to the provision of services to create, develop and manufacture products for the global animal health industry, has entered an agreement to acquire the manufacturing facility and operations of Elanco Animal Health in Dundee, Scotland.

The acquisition is an important step in Argenta’s EU growth strategy and follows the company’s successful expansion into the United States in 2016, with the purchase of a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Elanco and Argenta have also entered into a manufacturing and supply agreement for select Elanco animal health products. The acquisition is anticipated to close at the beginning of Q2 2017. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dr. Doug Cleverly, Argenta’s managing director and co-founder, says having a manufacturing presence in the EU will enable the company to better the services it offers clients around the world, and continue its expansion into the European market.

“The Dundee site has a strong focus on quality, as well as excellent capacity and technical capabilities, and will greatly complement our other Argenta facilities. This is critical as all Argenta manufacturing sites are fuelled by the research and development of new animal health products, which keeps the manufacturing portfolio fresh and helps position the Argenta group as a premier, innovation-driven, international Contract Manufacturing Organization (CMO),” he says.

The 80,000-square-foot Dundee facility will be Argenta’s third manufacturing site globally, and the company’s first operations in the EU. It encompasses a manufacturing plant, laboratories and warehouse spaces for the production of a broad range of high-quality animal health products, including non-sterile liquids, suspensions, and gels.

There are 118 Elanco employees at the facility in Dundee. As part of the sale of the site, Elanco will follow the UK consultation process and applicable laws governing the transfer of employees to Argenta.

“We recognise and welcome the additional capabilities that the Scottish workforce will bring to the business, and look forward to a seamless transition and joining the Dundee community over the coming months,” says Dr. Cleverly.

About Argenta
Argenta is a global provider of drug product development, innovative delivery technologies and contract manufacturing services. Dedicated to the animal health industry, Argenta was founded in 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand.  In January 2016, the company opened a new, 145,000-square-feet manufacturing facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa, to complement its New Zealand operations and support continued growth in the United States. The acquisition followed the company’s opening of a drug product research laboratory in the world-renowned science precinct of Kansas University, Lawrence, Kansas in 2012, and the purchase of a New Jersey-based clinical contract research subsidiary, AlcheraBio, in 2008. Today, Argenta employs over 300 staff, both in the United States and New Zealand, and works with 9 of the top 10 global animal health pharmaceutical companies as well as innovative startup firms. The company exports products and services to over 40 countries including United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. argentaglobal.com

For more information, contact:
Rana Ali
Head of New Business & Client Collaboration
Phone: +64 9 250 3100
http://www.argentaglobal.com/
– ENDS    –