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Wool biotech gets into hand and nailcare market

Lincoln, New Zealand - July 27, 2005.

New Zealand wool protein biotechnology is the secret ingredient in a new generation of hand and nail care ingredients being launched internationally.

Keratec Ltd - a Wool Equities Limited subsidiary (NZX: WEL - www.keratec.co.nz) - has developed powerful but gentle processes to extract wool protein (keratin) ingredients that have unprecedented age-defying, strengthening and softening properties.

These ingredients have been incorporated into a new hand and nail care ingredient called Keratec ProSina , which has particularly strong scientific proof underpinning its claims.

Keratec launched Keratec ProSina in the United Kingdom earlier this year in conjunction with Croda, a global natural products distribution company. The ingredient was also presented to the annual conference of the New Zealand Society of Cosmetics Chemists in Taupo last month.

Keratec, its research partner Canesis Network, and Croda have conducted many hundreds of hours of research to develop Keratec ProSina™.

Keratec research manager Dr Rob Kelly says sample Keratec ProSina™ formulations and scientific performance data have been well received. "Currently no other active ingredient in this area demonstrates the range of benefits offered by Keratec ProSina™, which provides a solid rationale for targeting the hand and nailcare market sector," he says.

Keratec Chief Executive, Bruce Foulds says the new ingredient comes at an excellent time as international patents on many personal care and consumer health ingredients are expiring, creating high demand for original and effective new ingredients.

"Keratec ProSina™ continues Keratec's strategy of developing specialty active ingredients targeted at specific market segments. Through the many hours of research and claims substantiation work between ourselves and Croda, we now have a range of products targeted at the hair care, skin care and hand and nail care markets," he says.

ENDS

Extracting keratin - why Keratec is so innovative

Keratin is the main substance of protective elements such as hair, skin and nails, making it an ideal ingredient in personal care applications. However, keratin is very difficult to extract without damaging the amino acids that make up the protein. Other keratin products have involved hydrolisation, that mangles the amino acids, meaning that potency suffers.

Keratec has discovered how to extract keratin proteins in a gentle patented manufacturing process. Keratec not only keeps the protein intact - it has worked out how to make some forms of the protein soluble, meaning it can be ingested as a dietary supplement (the ingredients also have joint health properties). Keratec has also worked out how to separate out and reconstitute high molecular weight protein fractions and use them for a myriad of applications, including bone graft and fixation devices, wound dressings, adhesives, bioplastics, and fibers.

This "intact" extraction of keratin is a world first.

About Keratec (www.keratec.co.nz):

Keratec is a New Zealand-based biotechnology company producing new materials from natural sources using patented technologies. Its core technologies involve the extraction and purification of intact fractions of natural keratin proteins and lipids from wool sources.

The keratin-based natural ingredients designed and manufactured by Keratec are used as active ingredients in a wide range of personal care formulations. Keratec has an exclusive agreement with multinational specialty chemicals company Croda International Plc in this sector. Keratec also operates in the consumer health and medical biomaterials sectors.

Keratec is a subsidiary of Wool Equities Limited, registered on the New Zealand Stock Exchange under the code NZX: WEL.

About Croda (www.croda.com):

Croda International is a global leader in specialty chemicals, with operations in the main market areas of the world. The company is a supplier of ingredients to the personal care and healthcare, industrial specialities and home care sectors. Headquartered in the UK, Croda employed 1600 employees in 2004, when it had revenue of approximately GBP 291 million. Croda International is registered on the London Stock Exchange under the code LSE:CRDA.

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