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Changemakers recognised for global contribution

Changemakers recognised for global contribution

Turning a profit despite the GFC, breaking new markets, creating new technologies - they’re all part of the hunt to find the best of the best in New Zealand Bioscience.

Douglas Pharmaceuticals, one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical development and manufacturing companies in Oceania, has topped the pool and been named NZBIO 2012 Company of the Year.

The Auckland-based pharma and other winners were acknowledged at an awards dinner last night in Auckland hosted by biotech industry body NZBIO.

After brushing off the recent global financial crisis Douglas Pharmaceuticals has continued its stellar growth. The New Zealand’s TIN 100 Survey reports it earned revenues of NZ$145 million from exports and the domestic market in its past financial year, with domestic operations growing to $57 million annually.

Known for its novel formulations of drugs, Douglas Pharmaceuticals also recently signed a worldwide agreement with a multinational pharmaceutical company for the sale and promotion of three of Douglas’ dermatology products. Douglas already supplies more than 60 customers in 35 countries worldwide.

NZBIO Director Dr Paul Tan says Douglas’ success highlights the fact that there is huge potential for the New Zealand pharmaceutical industry internationally.

“New Zealand is continually told that it can’t have a successful pharmaceutical company,” says Dr Tan. “But companies like Douglas Pharmaceuticals prove these people wrong. Its manufacturing and pharmaceutical science is recognised internationally and FDA approved. It’s an outstanding model of high value manufacturing that is required to lift labour productivity in New Zealand.”

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It was a double win for Lower Hutt company Mesynthes, which was awarded “Emerging Company of the Year” and “Young Biotechnologist of the Year”, which was won by Mesynthes’ scientist Barnaby May.

Mesynthes is a regenerative medicine company, which has developed and is now commercialising Endoform - a unique regenerative tissue substitute that provides a biological framework for tissue regeneration.

Mesynthes is also developing implantable regenerative tissue substitutes suitable for a wide range of soft tissue reinforcement and repair applications.

The company targets market opportunities in active wound therapies, soft tissue reinforcement and infection control and is currently focusing on the US health care market. It plans to grow and expand internationally, while continuing to base its research and manufacturing in New Zealand.

“The award categories are based on people and companies making a real difference to quality of life and to recognise distinguished leaders in their field,” says Dr Tan.

One such leader is one of New Zealand’s best known scientist entrepreneurs, Dr Jim Watson, who won the Distinguished Biotechnologist Pioneer Award for his years of work in Biotech R&D, entrepreneurial skills and supporting young entrepreneurs. The citation refers to his ambitious and inspirational contribution to bioenterprise.

Dr Watson has been president of The Royal Society of New Zealand, a member of the government’s Growth and Innovation Advisory Board and a trustee of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. After a decade as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Genesis R&D, Jim launched his most recent venture, Caldera Health, a prostate cancer diagnostic business.

The award ceremony took place during the NZBIO Annual three-day conference. Now in its eighth year, NZBIO is the largest bio-focused conference held within New Zealand and the only conference dedicated to the success of bio enterprise. Bioscience is the development and application of knowledge of the way plants, animals, and humans function, which is useful for the development of products and services. Bioscience is applied in many areas, such as health, food, agriculture, and energy, for the development of products and services.

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