AFT Pharmaceuticals celebrates 20 years of success

Twenty years ago this week, husband and wife Dr Hartley Atkinson and Marree Atkinson, started AFT Pharmaceuticals (AFT) in a room off their home garage.

Last year the NZX and ASX listed company earned revenue of NZ$70M and has a market capitalisation of around NZ$250M.

Reflecting on 20 years in business, Hartley Atkinson says that his company’s success shows that kiwi companies can become global players in their respective industry while being headquartered in New Zealand.

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New Zealand government investing 35 million Dollars in collaborative genomics research platform

The New Zealand Government announced an investment of up to NZ$35 million over seven years in Genomics Aotearoa (GA), a new collaborative science organisation supporting advanced genomics research.

Genomics Aotearoa is an alliance led by the University of Otago and includes the Universities of Auckland and Massey, Crown Research Institutes AgResearch, ESR, Landcare Research, and Plant and Food, and 32 associate organisations including researchers and end users of genomics and bioinformatics.

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Research trial shows evidence that a cure may be possible for peanut allergy

A trial for the treatment for deadly peanut allergy at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) has shown the strongest evidence yet that a cure may be possible. At the end of the original trial in 2013, 82% of children who received the oral immunotherapy were deemed tolerant to peanuts and went home eating peanut. Four years later, the majority of children are still eating peanut (80%) and have passed a further challenge test confirming long-term tolerance to peanut (70%).

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Monsanto and ToolGen Announce Global Licensing Agreement on CRISPR Platform, Underscore the Benefits of Innovation for Farmers 

Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) and ToolGen, Inc. (KONEX, 199800), a biotechnology company specializing in genome editing, announced today that the companies have reached a global licensing agreement for the use of ToolGen’s CRISPR technology platform to develop agricultural products.

ToolGen is an early pioneer in gene editing research. The license provides Monsanto with access to ToolGen’s comprehensive suite of CRISPR intellectual property for use in plants. This agreement further expands Monsanto’s broad portfolio of gene-editing tools that can be used to develop improved and sustainable crops.

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IVF delivers major genetic gains for seedstock industry.

FOR bovine reproduction expert Luiz Porto it’s all about producing better beef.

The Brazilian trained vet said that’s achieved by taking the genetics of the best performing animals and by using In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), rapidly decreasing the interval generation to select increasingly superior animals.

Dr Porto is the business manager of Inventia Genetic Technologies, a biotechnology company based in the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane. The company, which was on display at centre ring during the stud cattle judging at the Ekka, is generating plenty of interest in the seedstock industry.

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Unitec’s Tech Futures Lab and The Mind Lab make key appointments to continue rapid growth

Tech Futures Lab and The Mind Lab by Unitec have expanded the depth and breadth of their team with three key additions.

Louise Webster, Craig Hilton and Lorraine Guerin will help to deliver new initiatives including ‘Driving Innovation’ (as an Approved Supplier of Callaghan Innovation) and an agritech focus added to the Tech Futures Lab Master of Applied Practice (Technological Futures)

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Release of Richard Bentley’s book “Innovate!”

The growth of our technology-based exporters can be accelerated by making changes to the way our science and innovation system operates.
Richard Bentley in his book Innovate! Transforming New Zealand’s technology – based economy, launched yesterday, presents a review of the state of our technology-based exporting sectors, how the science and innovation system supports our exporters, and explores the government’s role in developing an innovative export sector.

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Aemetis produces cellulosic ethanol from orchard waste

Aemetis Inc. recently announced that after successfully completing the construction and commencement of an integrated demonstration unit, the company is now producing cellulosic ethanol from orchard waste, utilizing technologies from Aemetis, LanzaTech and InEnTec. The plant is a continuously operating demonstration facility located at InEnTec’s Technology Center in Richland, Washington, that is processing various feedstocks and demonstrating the integration of technologies to be used in the full-scale operating biorefinery.

“The Aemetis integrated demonstration unit was built to showcase high yield cellulosic ethanol production through the integration of advanced gasification from InEnTec with patented microbial fermentation from LanzaTech,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis. “The plant converts waste orchard wood and nutshells from California’s Central Valley into cellulosic ethanol. California has more than one million acres of almond, walnut, and pistachio trees that currently produce over 1.6 million tons of waste wood and shells per year. Cellulosic ethanol can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to gasoline.”

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Victorias Victor

He’ll tell you that he’s ‘just a scientist’, but in truth, the successful combination of Professor Richard Furneaux’s scientific nous and entrepreneurial spirit has not only generated tens of millions of dollars of economic activity for New Zealand over the past 25 years, it has also now won him the Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award and the BNZ Supreme Award at the 2017 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards.

Richard—who is the Director of the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington— started his career as a synthetic chemist. Today, he leads a team of 40 scientists whose innovative medical drug compounds have been licensed to international pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies, and an exciting new start up.

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