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Back from NZBio’s annual conference, with a tonne of notes and not sure how to make them all make sense.

However, some random points of interest – unthemed.

• When talking with the media, scientists need to overcome their embarrassment at constantly repeating a message. Scientists should still stick to the facts, let the journalist form an opinion. Stephen Goldson, strategy advisor to the office of the Prime Minister’s Science and Advisory Committee

• Living Cell Technologies encapsulation semi-permeable membrane is one of its main pieces of intellectual property – allows the transplanted pig insulin producing cells in a human body not to be rejected by the body’s immune system. Prof Bob Elliot

• Thermophilic bacteria from geothermal hot pools are an attractive potential vehicle in the bioenergy and biochemical industries. One major reason is that because they exist in silica rich environments, they immediately ‘grab’ any carbon (i.e. tree that falls into hot pool) that comes their way. Isolating and identifying potential candidates for commercial application is one of Scion’s many goals

• Scion’s TOGA (titremetric and off-gas analysis) machine, which allows realtime adjustment of anaerobic environments/fermentation, has attracted considerable purchasing interest from other parties.

• A sense of simplicity is a growing food trend. A general opposition to genetically modified foods may also push into possible nano foods and other new types of food products. The educated, globally aware and health conscious food buyers (where higher value food products are aimed) may in fact reject novel foods. Dr Karin Cronin, ESR, ‘sustainable decision-making for future food technologies’.

• The linear, conveyor-belt push of new food products needs to be balanced with an understanding of society and citizens into the markets – before too much product development is carried out. Karin Cronin again

• Why is working with big pharma so difficult/challenging….some numbers. In 2010, Merck received 7000 opportunities to review. 1000 of these were taken through to committee, 400 of which went to confidentiality agreements. Merck signed 46 significant deals/licences. Dr David Nicholson, Merck Inc (USA).

• Bomac Animal Health (recently purchased by Bayer), actively gathers information and industry ‘gossip’, collects competitors’ IP activity information, obtains ongoing feedback from researchers, distributors and vets. “Does its research, knows its markets, positions its IP around the market not the product.” Kate Wilson, James & Wells.