Commercialisation of protein science
The goal of the programme is to set up an integrated research programme across BIC and IRL that is connected to Industry. Juliet’s Fellowship resources include a postdoctoral fellow and two PhD students, all based at the IRL campus in Lower Hutt. She spends 50% of her time at each institution.
The new Protein Science Team at BIC is led by Dr Andrew Muscroft-Taylor and will comprise four experienced scientists and five postgraduate scholarships, plus an account manager. The total FTE will be 10.5. The team is charged with developing IRL capability in the protein space and developing relationships and research programmes with Canterbury businesses.
Connections with Industry
Here are some examples of connections with industry that are already being strengthened by the BIC-IRL relationship.
Canterbury Scientific Ltd (CSL): Canterbury Scientific Ltd is a biotechnology company specializing in the development and production of quality controls for haematology and clinical biochemistry tests. BIC’s relationship with CSL is maturing well. Following the successful co-sponsorship of 4 BIC summer students, CSL has now funded and MSc scholarship for a project supervised by Ren Dobson and Conan Fee. They also partnered with Ren Dobson, Antony Fairbanks and Juliet Gerrard in an MSI Smart Ideas proposal submitted this round, including a generous in-kind contribution. IRL is also involved with the CSL collaboration and a draft BIC-IRL-CSL MoU is being finalised, making a commitment to a research partnership across a range of individual projects. CSL is the first committed industry partner for the new IRL Protein Science team, based at BIC.
Gelita: Gelita is a gelatin company based in Canterbury which manufactures gelatin for a variety of uses. Juliet Gerrard has previously worked with Gelita on a Techlink and TBG project which led to modification of its manufacturing processes. Researchers at Gelita recently renewed contact, with an enquiry about a new research direction. This has been referred to the new IRL Protein Science team in the first instance, as it is a good fit for the new business they intend to develop.
New Zealand Pharmaceuticals (NZP): NZP is a pharmaceutical manufacturer based in Palmerston North. They are major co-funders in an IRL MSI proposal led by Richard Furneaux. Aligned to this work, Juliet Gerrard will be supervising a BIC PhD student, fully funded by IRL as part of her Fellowship package, to do some of the underpinning fundamental science around a key enzyme-catalysed step in an important chemical synthesis.
Anagenix: Anagenix is a New Zealand company which sells functional and natural food and beverage ingredients to a global marketplace. They use a manufacturing facility in Christchurch. Facilitated by the IRL connections, BIC Principal Investigator Grant Pearce has been awarded a contract with Anagenix that includes some fee for service work, plus an MSc scholarship.