Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

University awards commercialisation stars

02 May 2012

Commercialisation Medals to reward and recognise the commercialisation of university research were awarded at a special ceremony at The University of Auckland this evening.

Medals were awarded to Inductive Power Technology (IPT) researchers Professor John Boys and Associate Professor Grant Covic.  IPT has been developed over the last 25 years and is now licensed to six companies, three of which are based in New Zealand.


The latest company they founded, Halo IPT, was sold recently and the license transferred to US Nasdaq listed Qualcomm in what is the biggest commercial deal by a New Zealand university or Crown Research Institute. Through the license Qualcomm continues to fund research in the Boys and Covic Lab.

Medals were also awarded to Distinguished Professor William Denny and Professor William Wilson from The Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (ACSRC), recognized as standout innovators in the country’s biotechnology sector and world leading anti-cancer drug developers.

The ACSRC has been involved in taking ten novel anti-cancer drugs to clinical trial stage, filed around 100 patents and launched three start-up companies – Proacta Inc, Pathway Therapeutics Inc and Ruga Corp – for promising anti-cancer compounds. The three start-up companies have raised more than US $50 million, with a large proportion being spent to fund research and development at the ACSRC and clinical trials in New Zealand.


In making the awards The University of Auckland and its commercialisation company Auckland UniServices recognise the importance of commercialising research in the returns it makes to the New Zealand economy.

“Commercialisation of research is one way in which universities can make substantial contributions to the economy and even create new industries” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon. “The establishment of these awards reflects the University’s commitment to taking its research from the laboratory to commercial development.”

Auckland UniServices CEO Dr Peter Lee says: “Tonight’s winners have undertaken world leading research at The University of Auckland which has delivered extraordinary commercial returns. They have demonstrated commercialisation excellence.”

“Our Medal winners show the value of commercialisation not only in monetary returns but in the knowledge developed which has the potential to improve lives.”

The Minister of Research, Science and Technology Hon Steven Joyce presented the Medals.