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Kiwi Company Developing Game-changing New Product To Support COVID-19 Immunity

Innovative Kiwi company, Ruakura Technologies (RuaTech), is developing a dairy-based natural product that has the potential to offer immediate, short-term immune support against the coronavirus causing COVID-19 disease. The eventual product is intended to safeguard people in high-risk situations including events, frontline work, or during mass transportation such as on trains or flights.

Still in the early stages of development, the company has recently made a significant technical breakthrough captured as a provisional patent filing, positioning it for on-farm pilot-scale production of the immune milk-based active ingredient of the product.

CEO of RuaTech, Dr Steve Hodgkinson, says the end product is positioned for an unmet market need in science-backed immune support, something that is particularly relevant during a pandemic.

“Beyond vaccines, PPE and social distancing, there are few options available for people wanting to reduce their personal risk of contracting COVID-19. We are working towards a product that can provide science-backed immune support,” says Hodgkinson.

The science mimics nature and can be compared to the way a mother’s milk protects the newborn. The recent breakthrough, made in collaboration with Dr William Kelton at the University of Waikato, has been in the design of coronavirus antigens that are effective at inducing antibodies in ruminant milk that block virus binding to the receptor that allows entry to human cells. The milk produced through the scientific platform will be used to develop the new immune support product.

Hodgkinson says: “Leveraging 20 years of research, the science is exciting stuff. However, the freedom that the end product could provide consumers is even more exciting – especially with so many Kiwis facing alert level restrictions currently.”

Hodgkinson says that now that the proof-of-concept phase is complete, time to market for the final product, which will likely be taken as an oral supplement or nasal spray, can be relatively short.

But Hodgkinson also adds that potential applications of the technology extend well beyond the current pandemic: “There are opportunities to provide immune support against other pathogens. An obvious contender is Norovirus which regularly sweeps through close-quartered environments like cruise ships and retirement villages.”

“We are looking for funders and partners who can help us move into pilot-scale production and launch a product next year,” says Hodgkinson.

Notably, the research has been self-funded to date via a loan from Callaghan Innovation.

RuaTech is looking for investors and partners who can support the next stage of development.

Offering collaboration, serious investment return, and global opportunities, this is the chance to bring to market a game-changing product that will help the world better manage COVID-19 and other viruses in the future.

About RuaTech

RuaTech (also known as Ruakura Technologies) is a research and technology company that uses robust science to develop products that improve people’s lives. A leader in the development of hyperimmune milk-based products, RuaTech’s experienced team specialises in protein design, biotech manufacturing (for antigen production), agritech, and dairying.

Based in the Waikato, RuaTech is currently developing a consumer product that provides immediate, short-term immune support against the coronavirus causing COVID-19. The product will safeguard people during high-risk situations including events, frontline work, or mass transportation such as on trains or flights. The cutting-edge technology is positioned to meet an unmet market need for immune support. Based on 20 years of research, the application of this current project extends well beyond COVID-19 and could be used to protect people against other infections in the future. For more information, visit ruatech.co.nz.

About Steve Hodgkinson PhD, MBA (Dist.).

Steve is a multi-disciplinary scientist with a varied background in biomedical, animal and plant research, and business development in the New Zealand science sector. His previous roles include National Science Leader – Growth and Development for AgResearch, Chief Operating Officer for the Centre of Research Excellence - The National Research Centre for Growth and Development (subsequently Gravida) and Business and Innovation Manager for a leading biomedical research institute – The Liggins Insititute.

Since moving back to Hamilton Steve has been founding investor, director, and CTO of Synthase Biotech Ltd and ran a successful life sciences consultancy before establishing RuaTech early in 2020.

Steve has a high output of quality science and success in its commercialisation with over 180 scientific publications, 5 patent families, and multiple industry-focused technical reports.

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