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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

For more information, contact:
Rana Ali
Head of New Business & Client Collaboration
Phone: +64 9 250 3100
– ENDS    –

Group 2 Parkinson’s trial patients’ treatment completed

22 December 2016 – Sydney, Australia & Auckland, New Zealand – Living Cell Technologies Limited has completed treatment of all six patients in group 2 of the Phase IIb clinical trial of NTCELL® for Parkinson’s disease, at Auckland City Hospital. Four patients had 80 NTCELL microcapsules implanted into the putamen on each side of their brain, and two patients had sham surgery with no NTCELL implanted. To date there are no safety issues in any of the six patients.

The first five patients in the group were treated between 12 and 19 November. The ability to treat five patients in eight days demonstrates that the company’s internal procedures are working well and the team is meeting the very high standards demanded by the clinical trial protocol.

Read more

Brandon Capital to lead Biomedical Translation Fund Consortium – major new Government initiative

Melbourne, 13 December 2016 – Venture capital firm Brandon Capital has been selected by the Australian Government to build a significant life sciences fund through the MRCF as part of the new Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF), a once-in-a-generation initiative to make Australia a global leader in the commercialisation of biomedical discoveries.

The government initiative will see more of Australia’s world-class medical research remain in the country to be commercialised, creating jobs, wealth and positive healthcare outcomes for all Australians. Currently, promising Australian medical discoveries are often sold to large offshore pharmaceutical companies at early stages of development due to lack of investment capital available to the sector in Australia. The Commonwealth’s BTF has been designed to address this funding gap.

Read more


The New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards celebrates New Zealand’s most successful companies and entrepreneurs across a range of sectors, recognising their success of the global stage.
The awards are in the 22nd year and involve a year-long calendar of events which culminates in the Gala dinner on the 12th of May, at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.
Entries are now open for you to enter your own company or nominate another company for an award. See link below for a list of the categories.

Programme of Events:

5 December: Entries open
13 February: 3rd party nominations close
6 March: Entries close
29 March: Finalists for each category announced
11 May: Alumni event – invitation only event for all entrants and finalists for 2016
12 May: Gala Dinner

Click here for the Hi Tech Awards Fact Sheet on:
About the Awards
Why you should enter – Get noticed on the Global Stage
About the Judging
What winning can mean for your Business
2017 Categories
For further information visit


Missing link discovered in type 2 diabetes

New Zealand researchers have uncovered a new mechanism that controls the release of the hormone insulin in the body, providing hope for those with a genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes.

The findings, which were published today in The Journal of Biological Chemistry1, show for the first time that a protein known as beta-catenin is crucial for controlling the release of insulin from the pancreas to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Read more

Skin is the game for regenerative medicine spinoff

AUCKLAND: Patients suffering major burns may eventually benefit from the launch of a new regenerative medicine company, Upside Biotechnologies, which is developing an advanced, world-class skin replacement treatment in Auckland.
Regenerative medicine develops methods to regrow, repair or replace damaged or diseased cells, organs or tissues to restore or establish normal function. The global regenerative medicines market is projected to reach US$30 billion by 2022.
The New Zealand-based company has been spun out of the University of Auckland where the innovative technology was first developed in Professor Rod Dunbar’s laboratory. Work to date has been funded by Cure Kids, Auckland UniServices, the Manchester Trust, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and The Maurice Wilkins Centre.

Read more

KiwiNet appoints new CEO to lead the transformation of New Zealand’s science into economic success

Dr Hutchinson has experience in supporting research and innovation in the UK and internationally with a particular focus on the life sciences and global societal challenges. He led a team of programme specialists to develop and implement a platform of science policy, advocacy, networking, conferences, workshops and other initiatives, working in close partnership with the international chemical science community. He is an experienced project leader who has a strong track record of working with government, industry and academia at senior levels.

Dr Hutchinson is also a Junior Policy Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge, UK, having authored over 20 pieces of science policy covering strategic reports, government consultation responses and position statements. He led a successful campaign to the UK Government in 2013, on behalf of the broader chemical science community, to protect public investment in science, and has participated in several advisory groups and expert panels to government bodies and NGOs.

The Honourable Ruth Richardson, Chair of KiwiNet, says that the Board’s unanimous decision to appoint Dr Hutchinson is a vote of confidence in the benchstrength of the KiwiNet team, commenting, ”James represents a generation of kiwis who have excelled abroad and come home to take leadership positions. James has the skill set and ambition to take the  KiwiNet mission to a new level of effectiveness in the cause of converting more of the promising innnovations and ideas in our universities and Crown Research Institutes into commercial success.”

KiwiNet’s PreSeed investment partners have invested over $26.7 million into more than 500 projects since 2003. To date PreSeed investment (provided by the Ministry of Innnovation Business and Employment) has led to over 153 commercial deals attracting over $114 million of business investment and 27 new start-up companies. Collectively, KiwiNet’s investments into research commericalisation are generating a greater than five-fold return on investment to New Zealand and this is growing.

Dr Hutchinson is eager to build on this momentum, identifying several critical interventions that will underpin future success. He comments, ”New Zealand needs to build commercial aspiration into the DNA of our scientists and young people, to create a pipeline of smart innovators who are mentored and nutured. This needs to be accompanied by early and regular engagement with our investment community, particularly at the early stages, in order to attract the attention of the big international players that will take our technology to the world. KiwiNet needs to widen and better curate the channel that commericalises technology innnovations from our research organisations to market.”

”If New Zealand technology is to compete on the world stage, better collaboration is a key ingredient.  KiwiNet has led the way, by creating a truly collaborative environment in which research organisations are working together to commercialise research discoveries.  We’ve established the platform and now is the time to scale-up this approach to maximise the translation of Kiwi science into commercial opportunity for New Zealand.”


The Exporter – The voice of New Zealand Exporters

Message from the Executive Director of the Exporter

This year we teamed up with DHL to produce the ExportNZ DHL Export Barometer 2016. Thanks to everyone who took part in this important survey.

The results were released this morning. You may have seen them in the media, but if not, see the media release below, along with links to the report on the results and an online booklet covering the highlights.

Some interesting findings in there!

Despite the uncertainties in the world at the moment – such as Brexit and the US election result – exporters are feeling confident for 2017, which is great to hear. There are of course still some barriers to trade that we need to work on, and these results help feed into our work on this.

Read more