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Biotech support welcomed

New Zealand's biotechnology industry body, NZBio, welcomes the news that its Government funding will continue for a further three years.

The announcement was made today by Minister for Economic Development, the Hon Trevor Mallard.

"Biotechnology has been identified by the New Zealand Government as a high potential sector and NZBio is grateful for this continuing support. It endorses the achievements made by the local biotech sector as well as the work of NZBio," NZBio's CEO Brian Ward says.

"Today's announcement by Minister Mallard is recognition that New Zealand's biotech industry is making very good progress. Developments that will create high growth, high margin companies and add value to our primary products are being progressed right now by New Zealand biotech companies and researchers.

Highlights from New Zealand biotech sector in recent months include:

* Commencement of Antipodean Pharmaceutical's phase II trials for a Parkinson's disease treatment

* Protemix is expected to begin phase III trials of its lead compound Laszarin for the treatment of diabetic heart failure by the end of this year

* Neuren Pharmaceuticals will begin phase III trials with its lead candidate Glypromate towards the end of the year and has recently been granted a US patent for its second pipeline drug, NNZ-2566, for the treatment of brain injury

* Pacific Edge Biotechnology's announcement that it is ready to begin clinical trials for its diagnostic to detect bladder cancer and predict the risk of rapid progression of colon cancer

* Release of a new red-fleshed apple packed with health-promoting antioxidants by HortResearch

"Since its establishment in late 2003 NZBio has been instrumental in bringing focus to important areas such as the need for more funding to commercialise early stage research projects and for changes to the tax system that will benefit all high technology companies. NZBio has also assisted in connecting the industry regionally, nationally and internationally

"It is almost universally acknowledged that biotechnology will be an essential part of creating dynamic, knowledge-based economies. We are pleased the New Zealand Government recognises the sector's potential and their ongoing support is vital at this early stage of development."

NZBio Media Release, 11 June 2006

ENDS

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