Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

About the Biopharma Programme

Auckland is home to many innovative businesses in the biopharma sector, from entrepreneurial start-up biotechnology companies focused on new ways to diagnose and treat disease, to well-established companies such as Douglas Pharmaceuticals and Bomac Animal Health.

Through its commercial company, UniServices, The University of Auckland has established a strong track record in the commercialisation of health and disease-focused intellectual property based on discoveries made by University of Auckland research teams. This has not only resulted in the creation of spin-out companies, but has also established our researchers as leaders in discovering novel diagnostic and treatment solutions. The University is the home of the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, which is well-recognised internationally for its successes in taking new cancer drugs from ‘bench to bedside’. It also hosts the Maurice Wilkins Centre, a national Centre of Research Excellence for biomedical research, and the Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology, a hub to link industry innovation with state-of-the-art technology and expertise.

In this setting, the establishment of a novel pan-University of Auckland biopharma ‘thematic research initiative’ (TRI) provides a university-wide mechanism to more effectively link and develop existing research capability across the university, to cement and enhance our reputation for excellence. Led by Professors Bill Denny (Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre Co-Director) and Rod Dunbar (Maurice Wilkins Centre Director), and managed by Dr Diana Gash, the programme’s purpose is to ‘enable’ early-stage projects by providing targeted funding to allow them to access the expertise required to drive them forward. The biopharma TRI meshes effectively with UniServices commercialisation by feeding its pipeline as illustrated in the diagram below.


For more information, please contact the programme manager, Dr Diana Gash (d.gash@auckland.ac.nz).