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, headquartered in Ireland, is a global pharmaceutical company with a focus on developing new medicines in critical therapeutic areas. Associate Investigator Associate Professor 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 2019 Maurice Wilkins Centre investigators Professor Rod Dunbar, Dr Anna Brooks and Dr Vaughan Feisst continued to work with Auckland Clinical Studies, providing analytical services such as immune monitoring to support ongoing clinical trials sponsored by a major pharmaceutical company.
Avalia Immunotherapies Ltd.
Avalia Immunotherapies is developing immunotherapies that support the treatment of cancers and other diseases. Investigators Professor Gavin Painter from the Ferrier Research Institute and Professor Ian Hermans from the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research have patented a new immunotherapy technology and are 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 the UK. Comvita are working with investigators Professor Dame Margaret Brimble and Associate Professor Kerry Loomes to identify the active components and biomarkers present in Manuka honey.
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 Professor Dame Margaret Brimble is working with the company on developing new molecules as humane rodenticides to replace the widely used but controversial pesticide 1080.
Living Cell Technologies Ltd.
Living Cell Technologies (LCT) is biotechnology company, historically-focussed on cell therapy for diabetes. Numerous MWC investigators are sought by LCT for their expertise and to carry out contract research, including Professor Debbie Hay (Auckland), Professor Dame Margaret Brimble and Associate Professors Alexander Tups (Otago) and Kerry Loomes (Auckland).
Rain Therapeutics is a company based out of the United States which aims to develop targeted cancer therapies. It has secured funding for Phase II clinical trials of the hypoxia-activated pro-drug, Tarloxotinib, which was invented by Associate Professors Adam Patterson and Jeff Smaill. These MWC Investigators continue to provide expertise and consult with Rain Therapeutics regarding this research. In 2019, Associate Professors Patterson and Smaill also served as members of the companies Scientific Advisory Board.
Sapvax LLC was founded in 2016 and is developing a pipeline of products for the treatment of different cancers, with an initial focus on tumours expressing NY-ESO-1. Professors Dame Margaret Brimble and Rod Dunbar are the academic founders of this company, which is headquartered in the USA, and in 2019 they continued to consult and carry out contract research for the company.
Upside Biotechnologies, founded by a group including MWC Principal Investigator Rod Dunbar, grew human skin in the laboratory to replace skin lost in severe burns. The work was a spin off a project by Professor Dunbar and MWC Investigator Dr Vaughan Feisst. After operating for over 3 years, Upside Biotechnologies closed at the end of 2019.