Trade deal a boon for biotech, pharmaceutical

The China trade deal promises big benefits for biotech and pharmaceutical companies in health and aged care.

Pharmaceutical companies – ­including manufacturers of vitamins and health products – will benefit from the elimination of Chinese tariffs of 3 to 10 per cent in this area. They will be phased out within four years.

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NZ tech incubator awards first repayable grant

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced the recipient of the first repayable grant through Callaghan Innovation’s expanded business incubator network.

Tiro Lifesciences, an early-stage medical diagnostic company focusing initially on the development of technology for the detection of breast cancer in dense tissue, has been granted up to $450,000 over two years to develop a pain and radiation-free medical-imaging tool.

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Kiwifruitz crowned Bay Business of the Year

Two of the winners in this year’s Westpac Tauranga Business Awards – including the overall winner – are based in the Te Puna-based Newnham Park technology hub, one of the Bay of Plenty’s key centres for hi tech business.

Kiwifruitz, the kiwifruit processing company started by Rob Jeffrey and run by his family, was named the Westpac Business of the Year, while Plus Group managing director Steve Saunders won the Excellence in Business Leadership Award sponsored by Zespri International.

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Cawthron Institute biotoxins prove lucrative

Marine biotoxins valued at over $100,000 per teaspoonful will be supplied to laboratories worldwide in a global distribution deal between Cawthron Institute and international analytical and chemical company Sigma-Aldrich Corp.

The Nelson-based Cawthron Institute, the country’s largest independent science organisation, is one of only a few worldwide producers of the marine biotoxins used as reference materials when testing whether shellfish are edible.

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James Cook Research Fellowships awarded

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced the recipients of this year’s James Cook Research Fellowships.

The Fellowships are awarded to researchers recognised for leadership and sustained excellence in their field. The three 2014 Fellows will each receive up to $100,000 a year to undertake fulltime research over two years.

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GMO battles over ‘settled’ science spur new study of crops

Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, and its brethren of global biotech crop developers are spreading the word that as far as the safety of their genetically modified grain goes, the science is solidly on their side.

The message of “settled” science has become the rallying cry for defenders of the crops and food commonly referred to as GMOs as they push back against consumers, environmentalists, lawmakers and others who want the crops labeled, restricted or banned.

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NZ company resurrects cancer wand

A failed Australian biotechnology developer’s cervical cancer screening technology has been resurrected by an Auckland company that will list on the New Zealand sharemarket this week.

Parnell-based TruScreen says its medical device – a digital wand that uses electrical and optical signals to detect cancerous and pre-cancerous tissue – has solid growth prospects in emerging markets such as China and Indonesia, where women often lack access to screening programmes.

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