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Breakthrough pharmaceutical R&D project for NZ

Breakthrough pharmaceutical R&D project for NZ

Technology New Zealand is granting almost $1.7 million to a ground-breaking research and development project that will increase the capacity in New Zealand to commercialise newly discovered pharmaceuticals.

The funding, Technology New Zealand's largest ever R&D grant, has been awarded to Auckland company Antipodean Biotechnology Limited. Antipodean is working with seven of New Zealand’s leading research institutes to develop a new substance, mitoquinone, for treating Friedreich’s Ataxia and Huntington’s Disease, for which no treatments currently exist.

"This is the first time a drug discovered in this country will also be manufactured, formulated into tablets, tested for absorption, metabolism and safety before proceeding to the first patient studies, all within New Zealand," Mr Hodgson said.

"This is a very significant development for New Zealand's prospects as a place for pharmaceutical research and development. We have people with the talent to develop new drugs, but the expertise is dispersed and the ability to commercialise new discoveries has been limited. By bringing that expertise together with this project, Antipodean is putting New Zealand on the map as a source of pharmaceutical innovation.”

The total project is costing $3.34 million, with Antipodean matching dollar for dollar the funds contributed by Technology New Zealand. Further private funding will be needed for the project's later stages.

Antipodean is a seed venture capital company set up to fund the development and commercialisation of new pharmaceuticals discovered in New Zealand, using New Zealand expertise and facilities. It intends to work with an overseas partner to complete the development process and eventually market the product globally.

Technology New Zealand is part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and invests in research and development projects which result in new products, processes or services. Its largest previous grant was $900,000 to Auckland company Navman.

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