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NZ and Iowa promote closer biotech links

Tuesday, 23 March 2004
Media Statement

NZ and Iowa promote closer biotech links

Minister of Research, Science and Technology Pete Hodgson and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack agreed today to strengthen scientific relations and cooperation in biotechnology.

Governor Vilsack, who has also been in discussions with Prime Minister Helen Clark, is leading a 30 strong life sciences mission to New Zealand, comprising life sciences companies, farm organizations, researchers and venture capital representatives.

"We have agreed to support cooperation by facilitating contacts and reinforcing linkages between New Zealand and Iowa, particularly our researchers and life sciences companies," Mr Hodgson said.

Mr Hodgson and Governor Vilsack encouraged Iowa and New Zealand companies to create strong relationships among researchers, collaborate on cross commercialization of technologies, identify venture capital opportunities, and improve the overall awareness of the importance of creative and innovative approaches to agricultural development.

"We agree that commercialization of our technologies is important for advancing medicine and agriculture, and for developing our pharmaceutical capabilities. Together we recognize the importance of supporting an innovative, knowledge-based economy," said Mr Hodgson.

"This visit provides the opportunity for Iowa and New Zealand companies and officials to work together to foster new relationships based on a common reliance on agriculture," said Governor Vilsack.

"Iowa and New Zealand share strategic advantages in biotechnology. Closer collaboration will allow New Zealand and Iowa to benefit from and build on individual strengths in the biosciences, and promote these strengths in international arenas."

The Iowan mission, which has a strong commercial focus, is in Wellington today and will visit research and business sites in Dunedin, Auckland and Hamilton over the rest of this week.

ENDS

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