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Research leader pushes nanomedicine hub in NZ

Wednesday 11 May 2022 11:27am

Sarah Diermeier 2021_650

New Zealand should become a nanomedicine production hub, says an up-and-coming commercial researcher based here at Otago Biochemistry.

Dr Sarah Diermeier, Rutherford Discovery Fellow and senior lecturer, made national and international headlines when she launched a new biotechnology company last year.

Her company, Amaroq Therapeutics, is developing a new class of treatments for cancer that target long non-coding RNAs, and is one of the leading companies in the world in this area. During the first years of her venture into the commercial arena, Sarah has learned a great deal about the process of developing therapeutics in New Zealand – and its shortcomings.

She has paired up with Malaghan Institute Chief Technology Officer Dr Kylie Price to call for New Zealand to improve its nanomedicine manufacturing capability in an opinion piece recently published in the National Business Review.

‘NZ needs action now on nanomedicines hub’ [behind paywall]

Diermeier and Price highlight recent exciting advances in nanomedicine technology on the world stage, the best known of which is encapsulating mRNA to produce SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. They argue that New Zealand needs to harness this and other new technologies for a variety of disease treatments, and become a hub where we manufacture and trial the new medicines.

They point out that New Zealand already has great basic research feeding into biotech startup companies (although we could do more of this), but could also manufacture the nanomedicines that the startups develop, and carry out the clinical trials required to get them to market locally, rather than outsourcing manufacturing and trials overseas.

“The potential to grow companies, create jobs, and help patients by just engaging with this technology are vast.”

If you want to contact Sarah to talk about ideas to develop NZ’s nanomedicine development capabilities, or to find out more about Sarah’s research, visit her university profile page. You can find out more about Amaroq Therapeutics on the company website.