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Implement BiotechTaskforce’s Recommendations

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Implement BiotechTaskforce's Recommendations

Thursday, 18 September 2003, 3:57 pm

Press Release: New Zealand Government

Implementing the Biotechnology Taskforce's Recommendations

Each of the Taskforce's recommendations has been considered by Government, and a plan developed on how to take it forward and implement it and/or what further analysis is needed.

Overall, the recommendations are a good fit with the Government's policies and initiatives to promote growth and innovation, and most of the recommendations can be addressed by existing Government policy and work programmes.

The tables below present each action, how its intent was interpreted, and the implementation planned.

People Actions (1-2)

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 1

That industry, with Government, define a programme for targeting the recruitment and repatriation to New Zealand of five key scientists and entrepreneurs - i.e. "rainmakers" - per annum with the skills and experience to establish new and innovative research laboratories within an effective commercialisation structure.

This may include working with programmes such as World Class New Zealand and the Kiwi Expat Association as a way to attract talent. Taskforce intent / wider context

This aims to actively attract high flying biotechnology people (scientists or entrepreneurs) to New Zealand to catalyse the development of skills, talent and culture.

This is an action for both industry and government.


The area of increasing New Zealand's skills and talent is a key focus area under the Growth and Innovation Framework and is an area that many departments and agencies are working in.

The specific idea regarding recruitment and repatriation in biotechnology at the scale proposed is not covered by existing scholarships and fellowships. Funding for these is on a smaller scale, and usually subject to specific criteria. None are biotechnology specific.

MoRST is scoping the feasibility and parameters of a repatriation scheme in response to the Taskforce's action. This will be assessed within the context of the wider cross-government policy work on building New Zealand's human capital.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides a framework for this as it identifies strengthening capability, as requiring both short term action and longer term planning by both government and industry. The policy work on increasing New Zealand skills and talents requires co-ordination across a wide variety of agencies, and is led by the Department of Labour, with biotechnology-specific policy such as the Taskforce action co-ordinated by MoRST.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 2

That industry, with support from Government, performs a capability analysis drawing on the suite of audits in existence (eg BIOTENZ capability audit) to identify gaps in skill sets.

This analysis should include recommendations on how to engage with the education sector to develop programmes to bridge the identified gaps. Taskforce intent / wider context

This aims to identify capability gaps, particularly in tertiary education, so that future human resource needs can be determined and targeted recruitment and skill development undertaken.

This is an action for both industry and government.


New funding of $11.55 million over 4 years is going to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to develop two initiatives that cross all of the four taskforce areas (ie biotechnology, ICT, screen production and design). The two new programmes are:

- Enterprise Training in Emerging Industries ¡X this will facilitate engagement between industry bodies and the tertiary education sector, and develop appropriate models to overcome the difficulties that widely dispersed industries encounter in engaging in tertiary education.

- Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer ¡X this programme will develop commercial and entrepreneurial skills within the business community and among first time learners. This aims to build management and leadership capability in the areas of technology adoption and commercialisation, development of strategic relationships and coping with demands for rapid international growth.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides a framework to pick up Action 2 under its objective of strengthening capability by enhancing science and technology education at all levels.

Funding Actions (3-6)

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 3

That investment in biotechnology research continue to grow to a level of $300m pa over the next five years.

Industry to explore mechanisms for the provision of strategic co-funding in basic biotechnology research.

Taskforce intent / wider context

This aims to increase biotechnology research funding over the next five years to ensure growth in research capability and an ongoing flow of ideas available from which to source commercial opportunities.

This is mainly an action for government.


The government has increased funding of basic research through new funding of $6.8m pa into the New Economy Research Fund and $0.95m pa into the Marsden Fund in Budget 2003. This has allowed new teams to be funded and critical mass built up in key areas important for New Zealand.

Before committing to significant new biotechnology funding government is undertaking a "research stocktake", within a Best Practice Programme for Commercialising Biotechnology Research (refer to Action 7). This will: provide a holistic picture of New Zealand's current biotechnology research investment; confirm New Zealand's biotechnology and biomedical strengths compared to global market opportunities; look at the business models that need to be supported to encourage growth from biotechnology across the primary industries; evaluate how the current research investment is performing; and explore mechanisms to encourage private sector investment.

This analysis will be led by MoRST in conjunction with other agencies (FRST, HRC and NZTE) and used as the basis for considering future increases to funding.

The Biotechnology Strategy will provide the framework to pick up this action, under its objective of strengthening capability and action to invest in excellent fundamental research.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 4

That industry and Government establish a horizontal Biotechnology Investment Fund in the order of $200m to stimulate the commercial development of viable biotechnology research and to encourage growth in new companies. Taskforce intent / wider context

This aims to establish a public-private partnership specific to biotechnology to cover the full span of investment in development and commercialisation, allowing more IP to be developed in New Zealand; and providing flexibility and international expertise into the system.

This is an action for industry to take the lead on in the first instance.


A significant funding instrument (such as proposed) would provide a focus for investment activity, but needs to be tested against private sector realities. Since the government would be the minor player in such a fund, it is putting the onus on industry to develop a mechanism and demonstrate that it can raise a substantial amount of funding from the private sector. Government will then look at this as an option for public funds.

Two things the government has recently announced regarding funding for capital investment include:

- the Venture Investment Fund has called for proposals for a fund manager(s) for a $15-25m biotechnology fund option.

- new capital of $12m for targeted equity investment for CRIs/TEIs was announced in Budget 2003 to help commercialise research (some of this is likely to be in the biotechnology area).

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to assess the case for such a public-private partnership under its objective to facilitate investment in commercial development.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 5

That Government establish a vertical biotechnology proof-of-concept fund to stimulate the pull-through of basic research.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to fill a gap identified in the range of current funding instruments.

This is an action for government.


Action 5 is already underway through the recent establishment of the Pre Seed Accelerator Fund with initial funding of $4.8m pa. This is not solely limited to biotechnology, but biotechnology will be a significant focus. This provides funding for proof-of-concept studies for publicly-funded research and is being run by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to implement this action under its objective to facilitate investment in commercial development.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 6

Government to undertake a broader study of the tax structure applicable to the New Zealand biotechnology sector, taking into account its particular characteristics of heavy front-end research costs and long commercial lead times to commercialisation.

Taskforce intent / wider context

This calls for a study to be undertaken to look at what an appropriate tax structure should be for biotechnology, identifying four specific issues.

This is an action for government.


The four specific issues raised by the Taskforce are:

- Employee share options

- Continuity rules for tax losses

- Structures for allowing early tax losses to accrue to investors

- Tax deductibility of technology transfer

The tax policy work programme covering taskforce issues has a strong growth and innovation focus, and it has incorporated the various issues raised by all the taskforces. This work is well under way with members of the Taskforce and biotechnology community assisting the Inland Revenue Department and Treasury.

The government has not committed to any definite changes to existing laws yet, as fiscal costs associated with any modifications to tax laws have not yet been fully evaluated.

The Inland Revenue Department's Tax policy work programme provides the policy vehicle to progress this action.

Institution Actions (7-9)

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 7

That industry, CRIs and tertiary providers develop a best-practice programme covering the interface between industry and science. This programme should aim to stimulate market-led biotechnology research within a framework that recognises:

- The mutual benefits of industry / science partnership;

- The need for open and effective management of IP;

- Opportunities for research teams to gain an insight on drivers within the commercial biotechnology market;

- Pro-active investment by industry to extract greatest possible commercial value from biotechnology research;

- The role of Government in monitoring its expectations of CRIs to commercialise research output. Taskforce intent / wider context

This is concerned with improving the interface between the research organisations and the private sector to stimulate growth.

This is an action for government.


New funding of $2.35m over four years is being provided to put in place a Best Practice Programme for Commercialising Biotechnology Research. This programme of activities is aiming to strengthen the research-industry interface and stimulate the flow of research being commercialised, as well as increase skills in commercialisation.

This will focus on the research end of the spectrum because CRIs and tertiary education institutes (TEIs) play a critical role in biotechnology in New Zealand. They are the recipients of the majority of research funding, and therefore are significant generators of knowledge and holders of intellectual property in the system. Growing the sector requires commercialising this research and IP, and focusing on market opportunities.

MoRST is developing this new programme. In its first year the programme will undertake an expert review and stock take of our biotechnology research investment and profile its "readiness" for commercialisation. This review will occur in combination with the development of a range of initiatives to improve the science-industry interface, which will be piloted over following years.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 8

That Government reinforce its expectations of CRIs and tertiary education institutions (TEIs) to spin-out commercially viable research into stand-alone businesses.

Taskforce intent / wider context

To increase the number of new biotechnology companies ¡X an important factor in achieving the Taskforce's vision.

This is an action for government.


The government has already provided (in 2002) instruction to CRIs to commercialise research where practicable with private sector partners rather than alone. Current policy for CRIs assigns ownership of publicly-funded IP to them, and allows them to use the most effective commercialisation route to benefit New Zealand. It would be a significant change to expect CRIs and TEIs to use the spin-out model as the main commercialisation route.

Any further policy development on enhancing commercialisation of research from CRIs and TEIs will be picked up by MoRST (in conjunction with the Crown Company Monitoring and Advisory Unit and the Tertiary Advisory and Monitoring Unit) as part of the on-going programme of work on Commercialisation and Innovation Policy.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 9

That Government take steps to reinforce the relationship with the pharmaceutical industry to stimulate research investment. These steps will include:

- Introducing certainty and predictability into PHARMAC's funding, by setting ongoing three-year rather than year-to-year funding;

- Developing an action agenda for the industry building on the RMIANZ report - "Biopharmaceuticals: A Pathway to Economic Growth";

- Reviewing the channels by which Government engages with the pharmaceutical industry.

Taskforce intent / wider context

This action is primarily about building relationships with the pharmaceutical industry, and attracting pharmaceutical R&D investment into New Zealand.

For biomedical research, the pharmaceutical companies are important partners for the development and commercialisation of New Zealand research, especially for phase 2 and 3 clinical trials.

This is an action for government.


No decision on implementing this action has been made at this stage.

Within the Best Practice Programme for Commercialising Biotechnology Research (refer to Action 7), MoRST is leading a project that will take a strategic view of New Zealand's key strengths in both biomedical science and other biotechnology research that has human health applications. It will then consider the relationships and partnerships that are needed to develop this segment of the biotechnology sector further. As part of this study, specific consideration will be given to how we might develop long term relationships with pharmaceutical companies by, for example, forming public-private partnerships with either individual or multiple companies.

Infrastructure Actions (10-14)

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 10

That industry consolidate its networks, and focus the efforts of existing networks, such as Biotenz, the Biotechnology Association (NZBA) and Bio Auckland, to create one strong industry body with sufficient funds to augment the whole sector. Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to strengthen industry leadership, networks and learning.

This is an action for industry


This is an industry-led action. Government will support this through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, who will continue to work closely with industry to support its network efforts.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 11

That Government support the establishment of a single biotechnology industry body through providing seed funding of $450K per year for the next three years.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to strengthen industry leadership and provide a body to undertake industry good projects.

This is an action for government.


- New funding of $1.35m over three years is being provided to support the establishment of a national industry body for biotechnology.

- New funding of $1m, rising to $1.5m per annum in year 2 and subsequent years, is being provided to establish a GIF Sector Project Fund administered by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. This funding will be available to all of the newly established industry bodies to undertake industry-led projects. The fund is being put in place for 10 years.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 12

That Government co-ordinate a programme to identify large asset platform technology gaps and mechanisms to fund those. This should include the implementation of a dedicated "Request for Interest' to determine what infrastructural capacity building is required.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims for important infrastructural capacity to be built strategically for future needs.

This includes physical infrastructure development such as IT, and physical location of generic capabilities (skills and equipment) in institutions.

This is an action for government.


The Biotechnology Strategy work programme in 2003/04 includes a policy project led by MoRST that will look at co-ordinating mechanisms for major infrastructure investment and platform technologies between research organisations and government funding agencies.

MoRST has identified that New Zealand is falling behind in IT infrastructure for biotechnology development. Issues identified are access to bandwidth (speed and capacity), and collaborative purchase and use of large assets. As a result New Zealand may become less able to effectively engage in international collaborative research. A scoping project for future IT infrastructure needs for the research sector is underway.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to implement this under its objective to build critical mass around areas of strength.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 13

That industry work with all education providers to develop a world-class suite of biotechnology education programmes building on state of the art state-of-the-art visualisation and learning techniques.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to help build the right people and skills through providing high class education programmes.

This is an industry-led action. Government also has an interest in this area.


This is primarily the responsibility of industry to implement, but one that government has a strong interest in as well.

The Biotechnology Strategy has an objective to improve access to quality information and a key action to support school biotechnology education with resources. MoRST is co-ordinating the development of school biotechnology education resources to meet the science curriculum needs in this area.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 14

That industry works with Government on the goal of "building understanding and positive engagement between the broader community and the biotechnology sector'. This should result in projects that:

- Recognise the value of different perspectives on growth of the sector;

- Gain support, including from appropriate Maori authorities;

- Cultivate effective and innovative education programmes to communicate the cultural, economic and environmental benefits which the application of biotechnology can achieve. Taskforce intent / wider context

Recognises that to succeed, industry needs the buy-in of the broader community.

This is an action primarily for industry but with support from government.


This is primarily the responsibility of industry to implement, but one that government has a strong interest in as well.

MoRST has developed a Science in Society programme that provides a policy framework to support the development of communication initiatives around research and technology issues.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to assist industry in this area under its objective to promote active engagement and dialogue.

Actions on Regulations that Support the Sector (15-23)

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 15

Government undertake a biennial review of the compliance costs associated with biotechnology, bearing in mind the processes required to accelerate any regulatory reform identified. Taskforce intent / wider context

Looks to ensure innovation is not stifled by unnecessary cost and complexity in the regulatory regime.

This is an action for government.


Funding of $1.1m over three years was approved as part of Budget 2003 for a regulatory systems review process to be developed and for such a review to be undertaken periodically by MoRST. The prime purpose of this review is to assess whether the regulatory regime and its operation are achieving an appropriate balance between assurance and innovation. Whilst not specifically focussed on compliance costs per se, the review will look at ways to streamline the regulatory regime and therefore reduce cost in the system.

The Biotechnology Strategy will provide the framework to implement this under its oversight of the regulatory system to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 16

In establishing a standards framework for research and clinical trials, the research community and industry should:

- Strive to adopt FDA accredited standards for research and clinical trials;

- Seek ways to engage in the debate in wider international standards bodies such as the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH). Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to help New Zealand companies adopt best practice and keep linked to on-going international debate on standards.

This is an action for industry.


This is primarily an action for industry and the research community. Using a framework such as the FDA is likely to have an advantage for companies, as the FDA is considered the gold standard, and achieving specific milestones as part of this system provides important stages for attracting investment.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 17

That a review be undertaken to ensure that streamlined and co-ordinated regulation practices operate under the HSNO, ACVM and Medicines Act to avoid duplication.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to increase alignment of interfacing legislation.

This is an action for government.


This has been partially implemented in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification, through the New Organisms and Other Matters Bill. An investigative study will be scheduled in approximately 3 years time that will look at increasing alignment between legislation as suggested. This timeframe is intended to allow current amendments put forward as part of the changes to HSNO Act to bed down.

The Biotechnology Strategy will provide the framework to implement this under its objective of regulation to effectively assess and manage risks from new biotechnologies.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 18

That the following changes be made to the ERMA hearings and HSNO approval processes to ensure New Zealand has a world-class regulatory system that meets environmental protection requirements and is quick and cost efficient:

i. ERMA to adopt stricter compliance with rules of evidence procedures within its hearing process;

ii. Channel all generic submissions not specifically related to an application for HSNO approval through an appropriate ethics council (e.g. bioethics) on the basis that a mechanism should exist to be in place to ensure a year-round response;

iii. Adopt a more balanced cost recovery practice in the operation of the approval process. Taskforce intent / wider context

The intent behind this is to reduce uncertainty around matters that are considered relevant to decisions on applications, and therefore the timeframes in which a decision will be reached. The overall intent being to ensure that implementation of the HSNO Act is not a barrier to innovation.

This is an action for government.


Existing policy work under the hazardous substances strategy and the proposed amendments to the HSNO Act through the NO&OM Bill, as well as the work of the Bioethics Council will all contribute to the underlying issues identified by the Taskforce. Once these framework changes have been implemented officials will assess progress in this area.

Part 3 on cost recovery is being addressed in the review of cost recovery policy for HSNO applications.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 19

That Government amend the current HSNO regulations relating to:

1. The growth of GM micro-organisms in containment vessels, to bring it into line with Australian legislation;

2. Containment approval for small quantities of chemicals sold for research use by broadening the exemption for experimental or research use of such materials, to bring it in line with US practice. Taskforce intent / wider context

This calls for legislative change in two areas to increase workability of the HSNO Act.

This is an action for government.


These have already been identified as practical issues to be dealt with under amendments to the HSNO Act.

Part 1

Current regulations consider large scale fermentation as a field test. Proposed changes consider it as a case by case development instead. This is being addressed through the New Organisms and Other Matters Bill.

Part 2

Chemicals can be made under general approval, but if a commercial transaction occurs (such as researchers selling to other researchers) it has to go through a complete assessment process. An exemption for this is being sought. This is being addressed as part of the Hazardous Substances strategy. A discussion document for public consultation is due out in October 2003.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 20

That Government amend patent legislation to accommodate biotechnology product development times so that the effective patent life is extended so New Zealand is in line with international best practice. Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to seek extension of the patent term for products that require years of testing/trialling before being able to be marketed. Allowing longer exclusivity to patent holders, provides additional time to get a return on the high investment in R&D.

This is an action for government.


This is being progressed through the third stage of the review of the Patents Act, a public consultation process was held in June/July and submissions are being considered by the Ministry of Economic Development. The timeframe for Cabinet to consider this issue is expected to be October / November 2003.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 21

That the Government amend the New Zealand Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 to introduce the concept of essential derivation. Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to increase the effectiveness of plant variety protection. This will extend plant variety rights protection to varieties that are essentially derived from an existing protected variety.

This is an action for government.


This has been implemented. In July Cabinet agreed the following amendment to the Plant Varieties Act, to:

"incorporate the concept of "essential derivation" by providing that any variety which is essentially derived from a protected variety, where the protected variety is not itself an essentially derived variety, cannot be exploited without the authorisation of the owner of the protected variety" .

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 22

That Industry New Zealand, in partnership with industry leaders and Biotechnology Australia, develop an IP management manual specifically for biotechnology.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Provide a resource for industry to guide IP management.

This is an action for both government and industry.


New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has already begun development of an IP management manual.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 23

That industry facilitates regular biotechnology IP management training workshops to develop intellectual property knowledge in New Zealand.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to upskill industry in IP management and share knowledge and best practice.

This is an action for both industry and government.


This initiative is already being implemented by both the private sector and government. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is working with industry on a series of seminars in 2003/04.

Actions on Global Participation (24-28)

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 24

That the Government and industry actively promote New Zealand biotechnology abroad through effective branding, presence at international fora and hosting international conferences in New Zealand.

Taskforce intent / wider context

Effective promotion and branding will help us attract overseas investment and talent.

This is an action for both industry and government.


This action is already underway, but is an ongoing priority area, as promotion is a prerequisite in the global biotechnology environment to attract investment. To compete, New Zealand must increase its effort and effectiveness in this area.

Implementation will occur through initiatives such as the Biosphere NZ brand and presence at AusBiotech and BIO2004, the world's largest biotechnology convention.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to implement this under its objective of increasing global participation through the key action of promoting New Zealand biotechnology with integrated profiling and national branding. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise are the lead agency.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 25

That industry and Government set in place a programme of initiatives to stimulate the formation of international biotechnology partnerships. This may include:

- Implementing an offshore marketing base(s) in regions with strong biotechnology markets;

- Reinforcing links with counterpart Australian industry bodies to identify common barriers to the establishment of biotechnology start-up companies;

- Developing a programme working at individual company level to help identify overseas business partners (not limited to biotechnology) that can "add value' on the route to market. Taskforce intent / wider context

To take a more focussed approach to working with major players and trading partners.

Developing country specific partnerships will facilitate access to skills and resources and expertise.

This is an action for both industry and government.


Alliances with countries with established biotechnology sectors will provide access to expertise and access to capital, both of which are limited in New Zealand at this time. A priority area for action is to build linkages with Australia.

Implementing this action will occur on a number of fronts, in particular through:

„« New funding of $12 million over four years that has been provided to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to develop an International Biotechnology Partnerships Fund, which will encourage linkages between New Zealand and Australian companies in biotechnology development, manufacturing and marketing.

„« New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's support in key markets such as Australia, North America, Europe and Asia.

„« MoRST's Global Linkages programme developing science-science links with Australia, the US and East Asian countries particular Korea and Singapore.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to implement this under its objective of increasing global participation and action to build focussed country and regional links.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 26

Create a not-for-profit organisation, based in the US, to facilitate access to philanthropic and Government funds from such groups as the National Institute of Health and the Gates Foundation. Taskforce intent / wider context

To facilitate collaboration of life sciences research between US and New Zealand with one aim being to help New Zealand researchers access international grant money.

This is an action for government.


New Zealand funds are highly contested and accessing large international funding bodies would allow New Zealand researchers new opportunities not currently available.

Initial scoping work on a not-for-profit organisation has been undertaken by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Related work is underway through a study commissioned by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, and being undertaken by LEK Consulting that is looking at ways of attracting / accessing international funding into New Zealand for research and development.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to implement this under its objective of increasing global participation by building focussed country and regional links.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 27

That Government and industry investigate the status and benefits of strategic alliances with global bodies including, for example:

- NATO Foundation

- Human Frontiers for Science Programme

Taskforce intent / wider context

Aims to review New Zealand's current standing with regards to international scientific bodies.

This is an action for both industry and government.


No work is currently underway on this action, but New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will lead further work in this area.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to implement this under its objective of increasing global participation by building focussed country and regional links.

Biotechnology Taskforce Action 28

That Government and Industry review the benefits of a programme to position New Zealand as the key international arena for intellectual debate and focus on the co-ordination and development of international biotechnology protocols. Taskforce intent / wider context

To position New Zealand as a neutral place to conduct international debate on the development of protocols.

This is an action for both industry and government.


No work is currently underway on this action directly yet. As a small country, New Zealand has limited profile on the international biotechnology stage. Positioning as an arena for international debate allows us to "punch above our weight'.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise will lead further work on this as part of the on-going development of its global linkages work under its Biosphere NZ programme, and MoRST and MFAT will continue on-going work programmes that involve developing global linkages with interest in increasing international harmonisation.

The Biotechnology Strategy provides the framework to implement this under its objective of increasing global participation and the action to represent New Zealand's interests in and contribute to the multilateral policy arena for the debate and development of international protocols.


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