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Protemix example in offshore market entry

7 February 2005

Protemix example in offshore market entry

The Minister for Industry and Regional Development Jim Anderton today congratulated Auckland biopharmaceutical company Protemix Corporation on its appointment of current American Diabetes Association chairman Larry Ellingson as its new CEO.

“This appointment, combined with the planned opening of a Protemix office in the US later this year, confirms the global commercial opportunities open to Protemix’s diabetes treatments,” Mr Anderton said.

“It’s an example of what New Zealand companies need to do if they are to reap the full benefit of their ideas, research and development. They have got to integrate themselves into offshore markets.

“The flow on effects to the New Zealand economy from these successes will be significant as New Zealand’s biotechnology industry as a whole gains international credibility and critical mass,” he said.

Protemix has a number of diabetes-related drugs under development, including one it believes could have "blockbuster" potential - capable of generating annual revenue of US$1 billion or more - for diabetic heart disease.

In September 2003, the Government’s investment promotion agency Investment New Zealand provided a $2 million underwrite from the Strategic Investment Fund for funding for Protemix from existing programmes provided by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology.

Protemix also received a $24.5 million capital injection from a New Zealand consortium headed by Birnie Capital Partners.

Mr Anderton said “these global moves by Protemix builds on 10 years work by Protemix co-founder Professor Garth Cooper and his team”.

Professor Cooper has established Protemix as a world-class specialist in the discovery, development and commercialisation of treatments for heart disease, diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

Mr Ellingson is a past Executive Director for Endocrine Professional Relations and Advocacy at US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and led a team in the successful registration of the diabetes treatment, Actos. As CEO of Protemix, he will be responsible for further developing regulatory issues, clinical trials and business development. Professor Cooper will be expanding his role to become President and Chief Technical Officer.

Mr Ellingson will be based in Protemix’s new office in San Diego, one of the recognised global centres for biopharmaceuticals.

ENDS

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