AUCKLAND via NZBIO Awards – 20 March 2013 – Dr Hywel Griffiths, Chief Scientific Officer for Photonz Corp. was named the 2013 Young Biotechnologist of the Year by NZBIO at an award ceremony Tuesday evening.
The award is presented to an individual under the age of 40 whose work demonstrates the potential for future leadership in New Zealand’s bioeconomy.
Dr Griffiths won in recognition of his work at Photonz in the development of non-fish eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) produced directly by algal fermentation.
EPA is an increasingly valued ingredient used in the health and pharmaceutical industries. Photonz’s EPA is set to be the first viable replacement source for EPA which otherwise can only be extracted from already-at-risk global fish stocks. Dr Griffiths believes in the positive impact on human and animal health that this product can bring, as well as the environmental advantages of production by fermentation rather than extraction from fish resources.
“Dr Griffiths has made impressive contributions to the New Zealand bio-science community,” said Dr Greg Collier, CEO, Photonz Corp. “Working in the commercial setting of an early stage biotechnology enterprise is challenging enough. But to demonstrate leadership, determination, and remain passionate in his efforts to deliver an ecologically and socially responsible end product, over a seven year span, has amazed us all.”
“I’m honoured to receive this award, and I’m extremely grateful to the talented team at Photonz whose hard work and dedication has supported all the progress that we’ve made,” said Dr Griffiths.
About Photonz: Founded in New Zealand in 2002, Photonz Corporation produces the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is a critical ingredient in novel therapeutics for the cardiovascular disease market. Photonz has proprietary control over a unique fermentation process involving an EPA-rich strain of marine microalgae. This has been shown to produce EPA in a range of purities up to 97% and to be suited to pharmaceutical applications. Photonz is approaching a commercial-ready phase with facilities in the UK and France involved in late-stage up-scaling of an already proven manufacturing process. EPA, which has a range of food-based and therapeutic applications, is otherwise derived from fish oil.
For media inquiries please contact:
Fred Russo, Botica Butler Raudon Partners, +64 21 403 509 or Fredr@botica.co.nz
Richard Justice, Photonz, +64 21 223 4741 or Rjustice@photonzcorp.com