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SYFT Appoints Wally Stone To Its Board


SYFT Appoints Wally Stone To Its Board


Christchurch-based Syft Technologies is delighted to announce the appointment of Wally Stone to its Board of Directors.

“Wally brings a huge amount of experience and business knowledge to the board of Syft,” says Chairman Stephen Collins. “Wally already has a wealth of knowledge about Syft, as he is chairman of a company that was a founder investor in Syft Technologies.”

Syft Technologies has developed an ultra-sensitive detection device, using ‘Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry’ (SIFT-MS), which can detect smells and flavours in tiny quantities (as low as parts per trillion). Syft’s device is not only accurate, it is fast and economical, and has a wide range of potential uses.

“The Board and shareholders believe that Wally’s skills and expertise will be a great asset to Syft during its next phase of growth,” says Stephen Collins.

Wally Stone is Executive Chairman of Whale Watch, Chairman of Tourism New Zealand and Kaikoura Investments, as well as a Director of Mainpower, Snowy Peak, Clifford Bay Marine Farm, Coffee Culture, and other companies.

Wally Stone is very pleased to be appointed to the Syft board. “I have been watching the development of Syft’s technology very closely, and believe it is poised for global visibility and success.”

“The team at Syft has done an extremely good job of locking down the technology, and in developing tangible products and services.”

“I believe that Syft will be another Kiwi success story on the international stage. That’s good for Canterbury and New Zealand.”

“Syft is in the process of forming key strategic partnerships that will allow the commercialization of its products around the globe. This process will result in significant contracts,” he says.

Syft recently formed an alliance with Seenex, a US-based company that provides security products and services. Seenex is planning on integrating the Syft technology into their Security Portal application to analyse a minute sample of air as a person passes through the portal, testing for traces of explosives or other substances.

“There are such a wide range of potential applications, however, that Syft has to select and concentrate on the specific areas that have the best potential for commercialization,” says Wally Stone.

“The identified medical applications have created tremendous interest.”

Syft is working with researchers in Christchurch on using its technology for medical diagnostics, including non-invasive screening for conditions such as diabetes and detection of carcinoma through breath testing.

“Syft has some of the best scientific researchers in New Zealand. The academic excellence of this team has been a strong component in why Syft has developed its leading-edge technology that can hold its own on the global marketplace,” concluded Wally Stone.


Wally Stone backgrounder

During the past 20 years, Wally Stone has worked extensively in the public, community, iwi and private sectors. He has held positions with Internal Affairs and the Department of Labour. He has also held key positions as Deputy Chairman, Ngai Tahu Development Corporation; Commissioner, Maori Employment and Training Commission; Director, Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing; Chairman, Commact Aotearoa, as well as a number of profit and non-profit organisations. Internationally he held the position of Director, Commonwealth Association of Economic Development Practitioners.


He has held a number of senior positions in both profit and non-profit organisations. Wally has established a sound reputation as a professional business leader. He has demonstrated a high level of performance in the areas of corporate governance, strategic planning, tactical implementation and innovation. What makes him unique is his understanding of the private, public, iwi and community sectors and their interactions.


Syft Technologies backgrounder

What is Syft Technologies Ltd?
Syft Technologies is a high tech company that has been formed to commercialise the analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that scientists at the University of Canterbury had been working on since 1981.

Who owns Syft Technologies Ltd?
The company is a joint venture between a holding company of which Canterprise (the University of Canterbury’s commercial centre) and Breathe Technologies Limited, which has a pool of private investors, as its ultimate owners are the major shareholders.

How long has Syft been operating?
Syft Technologies has been working for about 18 months on commercializing this technology. This work is based on research done by scientists at the University of Canterbury stretching over 20 years. The science is therefore well proven but the applications are new. The research and development team has been servicing key partners like NASA’s JPL for more than 10 years.

What are Volatile Organic Compounds?
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are simply chemical compounds that vaporize at standard air temperature and pressure. There are many examples, for instance, the organic compounds produced by microbes (fungi and bacteria) that are given off as a gas under normal conditions. Different microbes produce unique combinations of VOCs as a result of their metabolic processes.

What has Syft been working on?
Syft has been working on developing the world’s first commercially available semi-portable SIFT-MS machine that can detect and identify VOCs in trace amounts.

Why is this technology so powerful?
The Syft system detects VOCs in extremely minute quantities – down to parts per trillion. No one else worldwide currently can deliver this technology in a commercial footprint. Its main advance over existing technologies is the speed with which it obtains these results plus the simplicity in operating the equipment. VOC detection occurs in milli-seconds and analysis of the readout takes a few minutes at most. It is also very fast and accurate in identifying the source of a VOC signature.

What are some of the potential applications?
Syft is already investigating the use of its VOC analysis technology in a variety of areas. These include:

Medical: Research is already showing that by using Syft VOC analysis a positive identification of a bacterial strain within a few hours is possible rather than up to 48 hours, which today’s established laboratory techniques deliver.

Border security: Syft is in the process of developing a VOC detection system that will be employed in shipping containers. This should not only quickly identify any biosecurity threats within a container but could also be adopted worldwide for detection of drugs, explosives and other VOC threats to national security

Environmental services: Syft’s analytical capabilities are now available as a contract service, using Syft Analytics Ltd, for the identification of various toxins and pollutants

Leaky buildings: for detecting and identifying the fungi species that pose the major health risk of leaky house syndrome

Oil exploration: for the detection of underground oil reserves by means of a simple probe to detect plumes of hydrocarbons being given off by oil from reserves a thousand or more metres below the surface. Such a system could greatly enhance the speed and economies of oil exploration

Process control: for monitoring purity of feedstock and products of high volume, high value industrial manufacturing, e.g. plastics, petrochemicals.


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