BioTechNZ and NZTech are launching New Zealand’s first Life Sciences Summit in a bid to grow the country’s promising biotech sector.

Wellington is named host of the event in a multi-year contract between signatories BioTechNZ, WellingtonNZ, and Business Events Wellington, and supported by conference organiser Brightstar and Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events team.

The first conference will take place 22–23 March 2023 at Shed 6, a waterfront venue. From 2024 onwards, the conference will be based at Wellington’s new convention centre, Tākina, with the aim of growing the event year on year to attract wider domestic and international audiences.

“Our objective is to bring New Zealand’s biotechnology and Life Sciences industries together across the sectors, including agricultural, environmental, industrial and human health. Having this breadth of participants highlights New Zealand’s capability, and promotes research and commercial opportunities to solve the biggest challenges on the planet,” BioTechNZ Executive Director Zahra Champion says.

“New Zealand ranks fourth in the world for innovation potential in biotech. Our vibrant sector is small but growing with 211 companies and $2.7 billion in revenue. Globally, biotechnology is expected to be worth $1.1 trillion NZD by 2025, so it makes sense that we explore all possible opportunities.

“There has never been a more important time to elevate the science of making our world more resilient through sustainably transforming the food system, protecting our environment, and facilitating breakthroughs in health, green energy and biobased manufacturing.”

“Biotech is an increasingly important industry in New Zealand for addressing our pressing environmental health, climate, and food challenges. To date, there hasn’t been an event that draws together business, academia, government, and investors across this sector in Aotearoa. The innovation and commercial potential for this sector are immense, and this event will serve as a platform for growth,” WellingtonNZ General Manager of Business & Innovation Rebekah Campbell says.

Wellington is the home of Callaghan Innovation’s Gracefield Innovation Quarter, which has been earmarked for a new Biotech Hub; The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, New Zealand’s world-leading independent biomedical research institute; and some of New Zealand’s best Life Sciences research centres, including Scion, NIWA, AgResearch, GNS, HortResearch and Victoria University, making it a fitting host for the Life Sciences Summit.

The capital city also offers connection and collaboration opportunities with relevant government organisations, including the Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment, The Ministry of Health, Callaghan Innovation (New Zealand’s innovation agency), New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry for Primary Industries, alongside a wealth of companies that support the sector such as intellectual property firms, venture capital, consumables, banks, and insurance companies.

“Supporting an event like this meets our objective of retaining and growing conferences and business events in sectors that leave a positive impact for the Wellington region,” Business Events Wellington Manager Irette Ferreira says.

“It builds upon our existing life sciences knowledge infrastructure and utilises the city’s networks and proximity to the government to showcase our strengths and drive positive change – economically, socially, and environmentally.”