Industry //

Working with industry

The Maurice Wilkins Centre supports innovation in the biotechnology and drug development sector by providing companies with the expertise and facilities that their research and development programmes require.

Allergan Pharmaceuticals

Allergan, headquartered in Ireland, is a global pharmaceutical company with a focus on developing new medicines in critical therapeutic areas. Associate Investigator Dr Kerry Loomes from the University of Auckland is working with Allergan to develop new therapeutic strategies to combat metabolic disease.

Auckland Clinical Studies Ltd.

This company provides Phase I and II clinical research to local and international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. In 2015 Maurice Wilkins Centre investigators Professor Rod Dunbar, Dr Anna Brooks and Dr Vaughan Feisst continued to work with Auckland Clinical Studies, providing analytical services to support ongoing clinical trials sponsored by a major pharmaceutical company.

Avalia Immunotherapies Ltd.

Newly formed Avalia Immunotherapies is developing immunotherapies that support the treatment of cancers and other diseases. Investigators Professor Gavin Painter from the Ferrier Research Institute and Associate Professor Ian Hermans from the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research have patented a new cancer immunotherapy technology and will be working with Avalia Immunotherapies to further advance the technology and progress it to clinical trials.


Comvita New Zealand is an international natural health products company with offices across Asia, the USA and UK. Comvita are working with investigators Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble and Dr Kerry Loomes to identify the active components and biomarkers present in Manuka honey.

Connovation Ltd.

This company is based in Auckland and undertakes research, development and manufacture of invasive animal pest control technologies. The company aims to develop smarter pest control products which are humane, cost effective and more specifically targeted to pest species. Maurice Wilkins Centre investigator Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble is working with the company on designing and synthesizing new molecules as humane rodenticides to replace the toxin 1080.

Genentech, Inc.

Genentech, headquartered in San Francisco, is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercialises medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. Maurice Wilkins Centre Investigators Distinguished Professor Bill Denny, Dr Moana Tercel and colleagues have been working with Genentech from 2010 to mid-2015 on the development of antibody-drug conjugates for cancer therapy. Two patents have been filed on this work.

Janssen Research & Development

Janssen Research and Development is a division of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development. Janssen focuses on the research and development of treatments for infectious diseases. Maurice Wilkins Centre investigators Distinguished Professor Bill Denny, Associate Professor Brian Palmer and colleagues have been working with Janssen, through the Global Alliance for TB, from 2011 to the present on the development of new drugs for resistant tuberculosis. A patent is in the process of being filed on this work.

L2 Diagnostics, Ltd.

L2 Diagnostics is a biotechnical research company based in Connecticut, USA. L2 Diagnostics is collaborating with Associate Investigator Professor Kurt Krause to identify and confirm inhibitors to alanine racemase in pathogenic organisms.


Metavention is a medical device company based in Minneapolis, USA, developing interventional therapies for type 2 diabetes. In 2015, Principal Investigator Dr Rinki Murphy undertook contracted research and provided clinical expertise for Metavention regarding first in human hepatic denervation for type 2 diabetes in New Zealand.

New Zealand Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

New Zealand Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Manufactures pharmaceutical intermediates and diagnostic products for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Professors Gary Evans and Richard Furneaux, MWC associate investigators, are working with New Zealand Pharmaceuticals Ltd on bile acid chemistry.


Phylogica, a West Australian based company, is a peptide drug discovery company that utilises proprietary Phylomer peptide libraries and screening methodologies to identify unique peptide drug candidates for its pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners. Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble is helping Phylogica establish bioconjugation ethnology for their proprietary anticancer peptide drug candidates.

Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

This NASDAQ listed biotechnology company, based in south San Francisco, USA, is focussed on discovery and development of drugs targeting tumour hypoxia. Investigators Associate Professor Patterson and Dr Smaill from the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre are paid scientific consultants of Threshold Pharmaceuticals and have received a UniServices Commercial Research Contract from Threshold Pharmaceuticals to undertake particular pre-clinical studies relating to TH-4000.