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Guest lecture

Building Biotechnology Capabilities in NZ: Priorities for Developing and Financing a World-Class Bioeconomy

Event series: 

Mark Ahn

Mark J. Ahn, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship with a joint appointment from the faculties of Commerce & Administration and Science, Victoria University of Wellington.

Prior to Victoria, Dr. Ahn was founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Hana Biosciences, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that acquires, develops, and commercialises innovative products to advance cancer care that he led from private to NASDAQ listed company. Prior to Hana, he served in executive roles at Genentech, Amgen, and Bristol-Myers Squibb in general management, strategy, sales & marketing, business development, and finance. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army.

Dr. Ahn also currently serves on public and private company Board of Directors for RXi Pharmaceuticals, Access Pharmaceuticals, and Mesynthes, as well as Chair, Clinical Advisory Board for Zygem; and advisory board of Creative HQ. He also serves on the Board of Governors for Chaminade University.



Mega-forces for future global economic development and productivity are biotechnology, information technology, and the globalization of capital markets. After three decades, the biotechnology industry has emerged to hold great promise for addressing a wide range of critical challenges in developed and developing countries, including healthcare, security, alternative energy, environmental remediation and increasing agriculture crop yields with reduced pesticide use.

The global biopharmaceutical industry with over $70 billion in revenues and 700 publicly-listed firms posting double-digit growth in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific in 2007, for example, represents an attractive and promising high-growth industry of the future. Governments and investors seeking to create and enhance bioeconomy competitiveness face several enabling trends including increasing numbers of science graduates worldwide, accelerating pace of scientific advancement, dominating role of globalization enabling greater collaboration, democratizing forces of the internet, and the relentless competitive pressure to innovate.

This study explores industry dynamics affecting growth patterns, biotech industry cluster evolution in an era of increasing globalization, as well as enabling factors which support innovation, productivity and sustainability. Questions to be explored in this study include: How should NZ prioritize, mobilize, and coordinate scarce resources to build a competitive bioeconomy?; What’s the impact of distance on biotechnology technology platform and product development?; Can biotechnology research, development and commercialization be funded from NZ?

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 5 August 2008