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Rights: © Copyright 2014. University of Waikato. All rights reserved.
Published 9 June 2014
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Aldera Animal Health is a start-up company that aims to address key animal and plant health problems worldwide. The company’s vision is to bring together the collective expertise of New Zealand’s research community to develop new solutions for prominent animal diseases – such as skin conditions, inflammatory conditions and obesity. In this video clip, Duncan Mackintosh and Bill te Brake (founders, Aldera) explain their vision for Aldera and describe how the company is forging collaborations between research organisations in New Zealand and overseas. Duncan also emphasises the interconnectedness of animal and human health, describing how solutions for animal disease can have a positive impact on humans’ lives.

Jargon alert
‘Corridor’ is used in this clip to mean a research hub or a group of research organisations brought together with a common goal.

Teaching point
Students could learn more about the One Health Initiative (referred to by Duncan Mackintosh) by visiting the Initiative’s website.
www.onehealthinitiative.com/index.php

Transcript

Duncan Mackintosh
Aldera’s been nominated for the Collaboration Award, and the basis of that is that we’ve been doing some work in the animal health space to try and really put New Zealand on the stage in both animal, plant and aquaculture. We’ve got some fantastic research here, and it was Bill’s and my vision to try and bring that together and take that to the world.

I think, like every good opportunity, we sat down over a coffee and said, you know, why don’t we see if we can build a serious animal health company in New Zealand.

Bill te Brake
New Zealand’s got a great opportunity to take up a lot of the potential research that could be done, both for New Zealand’s good and also the world, and very few areas in the world are focused on animal, plant and aquaculture as a research hub.

Duncan Mackintosh
One of the things that’s driven Bill and I in the animal health space is not just animal health. Animal health – particularly as part of something called the One Health Initiative – means that what you do in animals can actually really greatly impact humans’ lives, whether that be in New Zealand – a farmer with a disease going through their flock – or taking that same application into sub-Saharan Africa and really affecting people’s livelihood on a day-to-day basis. It’s that impact on people’s lives from animal health which is probably the most important. What we’re trying to do is build from the New Zealand-specific research base and take that to the world, and it’s something that we’ve got to do in New Zealand all the time.

Bill te Brake
We expect to partner with manufacturers, with development companies, with laboratories, with commercial research organisations here in New Zealand and overseas to achieve our ends. We’re not looking to do all of that in-house.

Duncan Mackintosh
We ran a roadshow a couple of weeks ago and before we went back overseas, and I think we saw something like 15, 16 different organisations, more than 60 researchers, and the buzz out of that was pretty important, but then to be recognised that we’re actually doing something that’s very collaborative is really nice.

Bill te Brake
Well, it’s interesting that you take the science from overseas and put it in front of New Zealand researchers and watch the scepticism change to enthusiasm, change to: How can we engage with this? What can we do together? And now they’re driving us to: Well, when can we have this? When can we start the process? So if that’s collaboration, I think 15 projects out of 10 days of presentations is a pretty good hit rate. 

Acknowledgement
Video courtesy of Kiwi Innovation Network Limited
© Kiwi Innovation Network Limited, 2013