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Dr. David Saul has been named as a finalist in the Research and Development category of the Bayer Innovations Awards for his breakthrough DNA processing technologies developed for rapidly growing biotechnology company, ZyGEM.
Dr. Saul, one of the founding scientists at ZyGEM, leads a world-class research and development team in the creation of novel products that aid clinical diagnostics, basic research, agriculture and forensic science. Dr. Saul’s focus is on DNA extraction and DNA detection.
Over his career Dr Saul has been responsible for the identification and production of numerous enzymes, including a thermophilic protease that is the basis of the first commercial product sold by ZyGEM.
Dr Saul’s research for ZyGEM has led to a broad selection of patents; four of which have been filed and a further eight are under development. Patents range from applications of thermophilic enzyme activity to novel and unique detection technologies including microbial fingerprinting. ZyGEM is also developing isothermal technology which in the future could replace polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, a technique widely used in molecular biology to exponentially amplify DNA so that it can be analysed.
Paul Kinnon, CEO of ZyGEM said, “New Zealand’s biotechnology cluster is isolated and small but fosters free-thinking, creativity and innovation. It is a credit to David that he has been recognised as a leading innovator in New Zealand, and it shows the respect and high esteem he has gained from other scientists.”
ZyGEM’s innovative enzyme-based products and technologies are based on the company’s exclusive collection of micro-organisms from extreme environments, including a product from an enzyme found in Antarctica that can be used to reduce the number of steps needed for the extraction of DNA.
ZyGEM’s technology has significant competitive advantages over existing methods and has applications in a number of sizeable global markets. ZyGEM has launched its DNA products internationally in its pursuit of the billion-dollar DNA extraction and testing market.
ZyGEM was set up by WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato, to commercialise DNA extraction methods developed in collaboration by University of Waikato and Auckland University researchers. The company, which has offices in New Zealand and the US, is backed by venture capital firm Endeavour Capital and private investors.
The Bayer Innovators Awards acknowledge New Zealand’s leading innovators – those who use their knowledge and commitment to improve the lives of New Zealanders and the wider world.
The six categories in the Bayer Innovators Awards are: Science and Health, Design and Engineering, Agriculture and Environment, Information Technology and Communications, Manufacturing, and Research and Development.
Details of category winners will be released on 8 August.
ZyGEM Corporation Limited is a rapidly growing biotechnology company with a range of innovative enzyme-based products and technologies based on the company’s exclusive collection of microorganisms from extreme environments. ZyGEM’s technology has significant competitive advantages over existing methods and has potential applications in a number of sizeable global markets. ZyGEM currently produces DNA extraction and detection products, molecular biology enzymes and individual enzymes and diagnostics, serving life sciences customers in basic research, forensics, clinical diagnostics and agriculture. ZyGEM has facilities in New Zealand and the U.S.A. For more information, visit www.ZyGEM.com.
WaikatoLink Limited is a world class technology development and investment company, with a strong track record in translating research outcomes into commercial technologies. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Waikato, it achieves this by identifying, managing and commercialising the University’s intellectual property. WaikatoLink works closely with industry, investors and researchers to identify and develop market opportunities for new technologies, and plays a key role in University knowledge transfer for economic transformation. Since its establishment in 2002, WaikatoLink has completed numerous licensing deals and established more than 12 start-up companies and joint ventures, which have collectively created more than 138 full-time equivalent jobs and achieved market capitalisation nearing NZ$200 million. Three of its start-ups have already been successfully exited. WaikatoLink’s impressive performance is reflected in its Top 3% rating when benchmarked against US university technology transfer offices (AUTM survey data).