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Silver Fern in Blood Plasma Deal with Biotech Company

15 March 2013

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand beef processor, Silver Fern Farms is moving up the value chain with the announcement of a long-term blood protein joint partnership with a world-leading biotechnology company.

The partnership to produce bovine blood plasma products is with US-based company Proliant Inc., an innovator in applied protein sciences for food, health and nutrition.

Proliant is the world’s leading producer of bovine serum albumin (BSA) which is used in the production of diagnostic/medical kit manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, vaccines and antibodies, nutraceuticals and life-science research.

Keith Cooper, Silver Fern Farms’ Chief Executive, said the agreement fits with the company's strategy of creating value from co-products and with the company’s sustainability ethos.

"Proliant is an ideal partner, offering high technology, processing and global marketing expertise. A partnership of this nature, with the potential for additional multi-million dollar revenue to our co-operative over the tenure of the agreement will ensure that together we make the most of market opportunities and grow value from our products over the medium term."

New Zealand currently produces around 1500 tonnes of blood plasma per annum of which 99 per cent is exported for use in the manufacture of medical pharmaceuticals and nutritional products. The investment also aligns with the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment’s Business Growth Agenda themes of encouraging innovation with clear links to export markets.

"This is a significant shift for our industry as annual production of blood plasma is predicted to grow six-fold over the next 5 years as a result of this agreement. We are also now dealing directly with the manufacturer through this partnership.

"To us this is exactly what the Government growth agenda is looking for – innovation which creates additional revenue," said Mr Cooper.

Under the partnership new facilities to automate much of the closed-circuit capture of blood will be established at Silver Fern Farms’ meat processing plants in the North and South Islands.

Steve Welch, CEO of Proliant Inc said the venture with Silver Fern Farms will give Proliant a reliable source of high-quality bovine blood plasma.

"Consistent supply of high-quality BSA is critical to the health care and medical research sector. People rely on the ready availability of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, nutraceuticals and diagnostic kits for their health, which is why we had to partner with the right people who understood our focus on excellence and reliability of delivery," said Mr Welch.

Mr Welch said the partnership will be the start of a very long term relationship between the two companies.

"We chose Silver Fern Farms because of their strength in the beef industry. They have large available, quality supply, a long-term strategy of building brand equity, and a record of capital investment. Their new Te Aroha facility is impressive and demonstrates a clear commitment to the beef industry which will ensure our critical raw material long into the future."

"New Zealand is a safe place to source bovine proteins as it has a negligible risk of BSE as well as other animal diseases of significance. It makes this country attractive for these kinds of long-term investments.

"We are a family-owned company and this partnership with a farmer-owned co-operative is also a good fit for us."

Initial installations of the automated collection systems are planned for the Silver Fern Farms plants at Te Aroha on the North Island and Finegand on the South Island.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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