This article first appeared in our sister publication, Dairy Farmer.
New Zealand’s milk is not the only animal product that has the attention of the global market: now, thanks to a new purpose-built filtration facility, the spotlight is on its high-value animal serum as well.
NZ life sciences company Auckland BioSciences Ltd (ABS) has recently completed construction of an animal serum filtration facility in Auckland, the newest large-scale sterile cleanroom of its kind in NZ.
The new filtration facility complements an existing facility in Rutherford, New South Wales, and ABS’s Christchurch site. Together, they produce filtered animal sera of different species, transforming animal waste into high-value pharmaceutical grade product used internationally in the production of vaccines, therapeutics and pharmaceuticals.
Thanks to the new filtration facility, the company can now produce sterile sera in NZ to bespoke specifications with the ability to scale production both in product type and volume. The added complexity involved in filtering means the end product is significantly more valuable than the same product in raw form.
Auckland BioSciences group general manager Daniel Maxwell says animal serum from NZ and Australia has an intrinsic premium in the global market due to the region’s world-class animal traceability systems, animal health management and freedom from major animal diseases.
“The disease-free nature of the herd means that the serum is the most preferred in the world and can be priced as high as 400% above serum from other parts of the world,” he says.
“Our ability to produce both higher-value raw and sterile serum means we’re able to supply a wider range of products to additional customers in more countries around the globe, including the lucrative United States market.
“This year, ABS expects to commence supply to major global vaccine manufacturers.”
ABS’s NZ business alone processes over 2 million litres of raw material per annum. These materials would otherwise become waste or be made into lower-value products.
Its NZ-origin, ready-to-use serum will also benefit customers who do not have their own sterile filtration capabilities. ABS is able to export its sterile filtered product to countries where sera must be sterile prior to importation. It exports to 18 countries and some of the world’s largest markets, including the European Union, the US, Japan, Australia, Brazil, India and China.
ABS has recently achieved a milestone of delivering serum that meets human-use criteria, accomplished in part due to the company’s ability to sterile filter all its sera, a critical step in making it ready for pharmaceutical applications.
In 2021, Auckland Biosciences acquired CellSera Australia, a New South Wales-based company specialising in the production of animal sera, and in 2022 it was named winner of the Deloitte Master of Growth Index, placed 21st on the 2022 Deloitte Fast 50 Index, and was recognised as the Fastest Growing Manufacturing Business in the Auckland and Upper North Island category.
“As a start-up that operated out of a shipping container office less than a decade ago, we are incredibly humbled to have since become a leading exporter of serum products,” Maxwell says.