At BioPacific we know that understanding our region’s innovation ecosystem is core to our business.  So not only do we work with it, we also study it to try to make it better.  We recently published two papers about the venture capital ecosystem based on work by Sujit Kalidas during his internship with BioPacific and the University of Auckland.  For obvious reasons, Sujit is now a valued employee!

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Innovators and angels

Last week saw the advent of two of New Zealand’s biggest tech innovation events – the New Zealand Angel Investment Showcase and the NZ Innovators Awards. Networks were made, ideas were pitched, innovations were celebrated, and a great night of cheer and wine was had by all.

The Angel Showcase gave 14 emerging kiwi companies a chance to pitch to a record crowd, including many high net worth investors. Our Executive Director, Dr Andrew Kelly, described this year’s event as “the best set of innovation pitches this country has seen, and it showcased the best of innovations from this region.” 

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Innovation is increasingly recognised as essential to developing a dynamic and successful business. However, despite achievements in corporate R&D labs, it’s not always easy for large companies to remain nimble and innovative as they grow. VC backed start-up companies are a great alternative source of entrepreneurial inventions, although the 10-year exit timeframe can limit options in the life sciences industry, which typically takes a longer time to pay off.

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New Zealand dairy co-operative Tatua has reported an annual 27% increase in earnings – a personal best per kg of milksolids for Tatua, and likely a record for the industry.

In a discussion with APNZ, chief executive Paul McGilvary noted that “the key difference with Tatua is that we don’t make milk powder at all, and we don’t make butter or cheese.” For a dairy company this may sound strange, but as McGilvary explains, “a relatively high proportion of the business … is in value added.” Indeed, Tatua’s strengths lie in high value speciality areas such as ingredients, flavours, and nutrition products.

This is a great example of a smart New Zealand business enhancing their strategy through innovation. It speaks to the advantage that adding value and taking calculated risks can generate.

By Emma Armitage, Business Analyst, BioPacific Partners

Robots rising up on NZ farms

Agriculture and robotics are developing in tandem in New Zealand with the help of Callaghan Innovation. Robotics researchers at this leading science research institute are developing specialist sensor technology for pasture care, monitoring, and crop harvesting.

In the future, the collation of data from sensor systems such as these will allow identification of patterns, helping farms and businesses increase their efficiency, optimise crop yields, and reduce waste.

By Emma Armitage, Business Analyst, BioPacific Partners

Singapore research trip

One of our team members, Emma Armitage, is completing a Masters thesis on life science innovation in SE Asia. As part of this, she recently completed a trip to Singapore, where she interviewed key industry professionals about resources for start-ups and the innovation ecosystem in Singapore. Keep an eye on our news page for more updates as her project progresses.

Technology Transfer Summit

Our two principals, Margot Bethell & Andrew Kelly, attended the Technology Transfer Summit in Adelaide, Australia on 2-3 September, joining around 100 tech transfer professionals from research institutions across Australia & New Zealand.  This is ‘family’ for BioPacific and one of many ways we keep in touch with our innovation community.

Media interest has focused in on contact lenses recently after a 23-year-old student left her lenses in for six months, with terrible results.

The year this unlucky woman was born, Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO) and their partners produced the first extended-wear contact lens. This allowed lens wearers 30 continuous safe days and nights of wear. Just 30, not 180. And although it is too late for this woman, CSIRO is currently working on an implantable lens that can correct vision defects for years at a time, which will be a fantastic breakthrough for those with vision defects.

BioPacific Partners has strong links with research groups in CSIRO; this way we can keep our eyes open for any new opportunities that may be of interest to our global partners.

By Emma Armitage, Business Analyst, BioPacific Partners