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$100 million boost for biotech

14 March 2005 Media Statement

$100 million boost for biotech

The announcement of a major new biotech fund was welcomed today by Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey and Associate Industry and Regional Development Minister Pete Hodgson.

The $100 million BioPacificVentures fund is the largest life sciences fund ever promoted in New Zealand and will provide a major boost to New Zealand's biotech industry, Steve Maharey said.

"This fund is a vote of confidence in New Zealand's burgeoning biotech industry and evidence that there are major opportunities for growth in the biotech sector.”

The government will contribute between $15 and $20 million towards the fund through AgResearch ($5 million) and the Venture Investment Fund ($10-15 million).

The fund is a partnership between AgResearch, Direct Capital and international venture capital fund Inventages.

The corner-stone New Zealand investor is Wrightson and the corner-stone international investor is Nestle through its investment in Inventages.

The fund will focus on agbiotech and food sectors in New Zealand and Australia, with a secondary emphasis on health.

Speaking at the inaugural Biotech Conference in Auckland, Pete Hodgson said the fund would help to establish New Zealand at the forefront of innovation in biotech.

"New Zealand is known as a producer of the world’s best food and agricultural products. The investment of Nestlé in this fund is a sign that the international community is now looking to New Zealand as a source of innovation in agbiotech."

BioPacificVentures is currently looking at options for utilising the fund, which will have a maximum life of 12 years.

ENDS

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