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Plant & Food Research wins two 2018 KiwiNet Awards

Plant & Food Research went home with two of the five KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, which celebrate impact from science through successful research commercialisation within New Zealand’s universities and Crown Research Institutes.

Plant & Food Research won the PwC Commercial Impact Award with the Amarasate™ extract – a 100% plant-based, world-first weight management extract. The award recognises excellence in research commercialisation that delivers outstanding innovation performance and the potential for generating significant economic impact for New Zealand.

“The Amarasate™ team are excited to celebrate this success with our commercial partner,” said Brendan Vercoe, Commercial Development Manager. “It has been more than eight years of work from the science team. It is great to have an extremely successful product launch in New Zealand, and we are excited about the global opportunity. KiwiNet’s investment has been crucial for us to access external expertise to validate the market and to come up with a market entry strategy for the US, so it is great to have this recognition from them.”

Dr Andrew Kralicek, Science Team Leader Molecular Sensing won the BNZ Supreme Award for his research on harnessing insects’ receptors for commercial sensing. This award recognises a supreme entry which demonstrates overall excellence in all core areas of research commercialisation.

“The award is great for the team and great for the future commercialisation of the technology,” Dr Kralicek said. “I especially want to thank the people in the Molecular Sensing team, our external collaborators and our students, the business development team and our external consultant for helping me build the business case for the commercialisation of our technology. I’d also like to acknowledge the support of Plant & Food Research through the long lean years of gestation of this technology and the support and guidance from KiwiNet, which has really helped focus our efforts.”

Dr Philip Elmer, Team Leader Integrated Disease, was also a finalist at the Awards, in the Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur category.

The KiwiNet Award winners were chosen after 12 finalists had presented their innovations to an expert judging panel and audience in Auckland on 5 July. The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 16 universities, Crown Research Institutes and a Crown Entity established to boost commercial outcomes from publicly funded research.

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