New Bayer lab a pinup for R&D investment

New Bayer lab a pinup for R&D investment

Bayer has opened a new laboratory at its Auckland Centre for Innovation and Development, focused on veterinary medicine formulations.

The million dollar facility was officially opened today by science and innovation minister Steven Joyce, in front an audience
including the company's local university collaboration partners. It replaes a smaller lab at Bayer's Manukau site.

"We will be looking at how to make medicines last longer in the animal as well as combining two medicines given to an animal
separately into a single dose medicine," says the centre's head Wayne Leech. Leech is the former head of Bomac Laboratories, 
which was acquired by Bayer in 2010.

Tylofen is an example of a combination medicine developed locally by Bayer - it's an anti-inflammatory and anti-infection product. Bayer says three local research and development project have been adopted by the company globally.

Bayer's local head of animal health Derek Bartlett says the lab will focus on products for the management of mastitis, reproduction and metabolic health management.

The company's head of global animal health development Dr Douglas Hutchens says the multinational invests in New Zealand
because of the entrepreneurial spirit among researchers here.

"In drug development we have quite a few failures and a few successes. The people here find a way to say yes and find a 
solution," says Hutchens. 

Bayer invests $5 billion annually in research and development internationally and is funded for that purpose locally 
to the tune of about $10 million by its head office for R&D.

The Centre for Innovation and Development has 35 staff including veterinarians, pharmacists, pharmacologists, analytical chemists,
regulatory affairs people, patent attorneys and statisticians.

Joyce said at the launch the government needed more organisations to make R&D investments of the sort Bayer has made in New Zealand to achieve a goal of growing exports from 30 percent to 40 percent of GDP. To do that, between $160 billion and $200 billion
needed to be invested in export focused businesses. 

"We have to work with inveternational investors so investments like the one Bayer is making is signficant," Joyce says.

Bayer is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Otago, Auckland and Massey are among the company's university collaborators.