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Biotech's $400 million value-add

Biotech's $400 million value-add

New research shows four biotechnologies added nearly $400 million to New Zealand's primary sector last year.

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Research showing that four biotechnologies added nearly $400 million to New Zealand's primary sector last year was welcomed today by Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey.

Speaking at the NZ Bio conference in Auckland, Steve Maharey said the research was evidence of the capacity for biotech to transform New Zealand's economy by adding value to key industries, such as agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

The research - commissioned by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology and carried out by Lincoln University - found that four biotechnologies, clonal propagation, marker-assisted breeding, enzyme technology and biocontrol agents, provided a value-add of added nearly $400 million to the economy in 2004.

"Results from the technologies featured in this research are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the value biotech can add to New Zealand firms," Steve Maharey said. "Around 60 percent of all biotechnology activity is still at the research and development stage, with significant potential for commercialisation.

"The government's 2002 growth and innovation framework identified biotech as one of three sectors with the potential to accelerate New Zealand's growth. In 2006, we are not only adding value to our economy through biotech, we are leading the world in key areas of research, from biomedicine to food to animal genomics."

Steve Maharey said the government had a comprehensive programme to support biotechnology including research, commercialisation and encouraging business investment.

"Our investment includes $175m a year on biotechnology research, seed funds to support early stage biotechnology companies, a dedicated biotechnology investment fund and support for a number of Biotechnology Incubators."

The research report is available from www.morst.govt.nz

ENDS

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