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WaikatoLink in finals of KiwiNet awards



WaikatoLink in finals of KiwiNet awards for spinouts Aldera and Aduro Biopolymers

Hamilton, New Zealand, 23 May 2013 – WaikatoLink Limited, the technology transfer office of the University of Waikato, has been selected as a finalist for two awards in the inaugural KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards for spinout companies Aldera and Aduro Biopolymers. Designed to celebrate success within New Zealand’s research organisations, winners will be announced at an event in Auckland on 19th June.

WaikatoLink CEO Duncan Mackintosh says, “It’s a great acknowledgement for both the WaikatoLink team and the key personnel in Aldera and Aduro; both are great examples of early stage innovative companies based on publically funded research assisted by KiwiNet.

WaikatoLink spinout Aldera Limited, a collaboration to develop an animal and plant corridor in New Zealand, is a finalist in the Commercialisation Collaboration Award. Aldera’s vision is to create a national platform for capitalising on the collective expertise of NZ’s public research organisations and international recognition to develop new solutions that will address New Zealand’s and some of the world’s most prominent animal and plant diseases. Mackintosh is also the Co-founder and President of Aldera Limited.

He says, “We’re building on scientific capability in New Zealand through international partnerships and facilitating collaboration across New Zealand’s research community. Creating an Animal and Plant R&D Corridor positions New Zealand to be truly competitive on the world stage as an innovative solutions provider for animal and plant health.”

Recently Aldera gained exclusive access to the extensive IP portfolio of a US biotech company, for use in Animal and Plant Health. Leveraging this platform will create unique opportunities for New Zealand research organisations, and encourage recognition and collaboration with the world’s leading animal health companies.

Mackintosh adds, “Aldera has an opportunity to help firmly position New Zealand as the leading centre for animal health R&D.”

WaikatoLink’s formation of Aduro Biopolymers (Aduro), a Limited Partnership formed to develop and commercialise a diverse range of biopolymer materials derived from natural resources, has also resulted in a finalist selection in the Commercial Deal Award. In February the company received investment from Wallace Corporation, by volume New Zealand’s largest service rendering business.

Darren Harpur, Acting CEO of Aduro Biopolymers says, “It’s really pleasing to be recognised for the hard work done over 5 or 6 years which has culminated in a complex investment and investment structure which intends to build a company of some scale.”

WaikatoLink’s Duncan Mackintosh adds, “It’s fantastic to secure investment at such a key point in the company’s development and encouraging seeing a successful established company like Wallace Corporation value this innovation and its commercial promise as part of its strategy. The University already had a strong relationship with Wallace Corporation who has been a long-time supporter of science and research students. The intent is that this is not just a one off and other technology from the University can be transferred through the same market pathway through Aduro.”

Aduro products will be used in plastics, composites, manufacturing, agriculture, and the building and construction sectors. The lead product Novatein is a sustainable bioplastic that will be price competitive with petrochemical plastics. The science behind Novatein originated and continues to be developed by the School of engineering out of the University of Waikato by Chemical Engineer Dr Johan Verbeek and his team.

Aduro Biopolymers and Aldera both received investment support from KiwiNet’s PreSeed Accelerator Fund from the Ministry of Science and Innovation to match investment by WaikatoLink and investors.

Mackintosh says, “When it comes to turning research into market ready innovations there is no such thing as an overnight success. A lot of work goes into translating innovative research into a commercial proposition. But it’s really satisfying to see research solve market problems and be part of helping make it all come together.”

The winners of the inaugural KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards will be announced at a function in Auckland on 19th June.

- ENDS -

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