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HumanTherapeutics sector poised for rapid growth

Published: Tue 8 Dec 2009 10:17 AM
HumanTherapeutics sector poised for rapid growth
New Zealand’s Human Therapeutics sector is contributing over $200 million every year to the national economy and is poised for significant, rapid growth, a report released today reveals.
SIGHT 2009 The Importance of New Zealand’s Human Therapeutics Sector in Future Economic Growth identifies the enormous opportunity that exists to leverage the New Zealand industry’s solid foundation for future success. The Report was prepared by the NZBIO Special Interest Group for Human Health (SIGHT).
Global pharmaceutical sales were forecast to surpass US$820 billion per annum in 2009. “With an ever increasing demand for improved health treatments and outcomes and an ageing population, it is a sector which is uncommonly resistant to the impact of economic cycles. New Zealand is already playing an important part in this industry through the discovery and development of new drugs and diagnostics,” NZBIO CEO Bronwyn Dilley says.
“The sector produces high value export products for large expanding global markets with few trade barriers, creates high-skill, high-value jobs and has a positive impact on health, the environment and economies worldwide. With the right environment and sufficient support, New Zealand’s research in human therapeutics will generate future growth in the product pipeline and the ability to extract more value from the development process.
“In recent years the international landscape for drug development has changed, with several blockbuster drugs reaching the end of their patent life, creating a strong demand for new products and providing opportunities for producers of generic products. In an increasingly borderless world there is a great opportunity for New Zealand to significantly increase its market share in this sector.
“In addition, a move towards the delivery of health products through high end functional foods means that a robust human therapeutics sector will boost New Zealand’s capability to extract maximum value from the development of clinically proven functional food products. Without strong human therapeutics capabilities, some key parts of the value chain of functional foods would be forced offshore.
“It is essential that the food biotechnology and health biotechnology sectors are seen as synergistic and interdependent if New Zealand is going to extract maximum productivity and returns from its RS portfolio.”
SIGHT Committee Chair Professor Peter Shepherd welcomes the Report’s release. “Capability in the development of human therapeutics and diagnostics has built up rapidly in New Zealand over the last several years, but this has happened under the radar of public awareness. Subsequently, the sector’s ability to benefit the economy has also been overlooked. SIGHT 2009 shows for the first time the sector’s actual worth and its potential. The case studies provided also reveal that New Zealand has a wealth of talented researchers in its Universities, innovative companies and a strong professional support system.
“New Zealand generics companies including AFT and Douglas Pharmaceuticals, combined with manufacturers such as New Zealand Pharmaceuticals, together contribute up to $200 million to the New Zealand economy each year. In addition, companies that support the sector by providing contract research services to international clients earn a collective export revenue of up to $20 million annually.”
The ability to develop blockbuster drugs in New Zealand has been highlighted by a recent deal which could bring hundreds of millions of dollars back to New Zealand in the form of royalty payments. This involved licensing DMXAA, a cancer drug developed in Auckland, to global giant Novartis.
“The New Zealand human therapeutics sector shares many similarities with successful international regions, including the State of Victoria, Medicon Valley in Europe and San Diego, which also provide examples of successful industry support strategies.  A vibrant health biotechnology sector is critically important to a successful bioeconomy. SIGHT 2009 shows that the New Zealand sector is thriving and it is poised to make a much greater contribution to the economy and to add significant value to other industries in the future,” Professor Shepherd added.
Download a copy of SIGHT 2009 The Importance of New Zealand’s Human Therapeutics Sector in Future Economic Growth from the NZBIO website at: http://www.nzbio.org.nz/default.aspx?page=industry-reports&
ENDS

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