Pharmaceutical expert lectures at UC

24 May 2013

A leading New Zealand pharmaceutical scientist has been lecturing University of Canterbury chemistry students and looking at collaborating with UC researchers.

Pharmaceutical expert lectures at UC

Dr Peter Surman, development manager at Douglas Pharmaceuticals, talks to UC chemistry students.

A leading New Zealand pharmaceutical scientist has been lecturing University of Canterbury chemistry students and looking at collaborating with UC researchers.

Dr Peter Surman, the research and development manager at Douglas Pharmaceuticals, has been discussing with key UC staff where they could collaborate with Douglas in new product developments.

For UC students, they have been given insight into the pharmaceutical industry and Dr Surman has let them know the types of opportunities that await after they graduate.

Douglas Pharmaceuticals is the largest manufacturer of prescription medicines in New Zealand, with some lines in excess of 100 million units a year. Company revenue is around $150 million a year with the bulk of sales coming from exports to Europe, Australia and the US.

"The New Zealand pharmaceutical industry, particularly the manufacturing industry is a lot smaller than it was 10 or 15 years ago. The impact of centralised government purchasing in the 1990s has brought us some of the lowest priced pharmaceuticals as consumers but it has discouraged investment by the pharma industry," Dr Surman says. 

"Around two thirds of our revenue comes from the sale of in-house developed dermatological products. We see further opportunities in this area and have a particular interest in developing novel products through collaboration with academic and industry partners for the treatment of skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and skin cancer.

"Finding new uses for existing medicines is a growth area of our research interests. A shift in focus away from generic developments is necessary to grow Douglas in a competitive environment. 

"The fundamental science at UC compliments that applied science of our industry. The skills learned by undergraduates working in the UC laboratories are directly transferable to our quality control and product development laboratories at Douglas where around 200 scientists are engaged in the development and on-going support of our new products.

"Skills learned by postgraduates in research and publication are also keenly sought by us as these people have the potential to initiate new projects and to produce technical reports to the publishable standard required to support our international regulatory applications. 

"UC is a top class university and very strong in the physical sciences and engineering. It has been great to meet people like Professor Juliet Gerrard this week and learn about projects underway at the McDiarmid Institute and Callaghan Innovation.  

"I have also spent time with Professor Wendy Lawson and Professor Antony Fairbanks. There is a mutual interest to continue to explore areas where Douglas and UC can collaborate on research topics and student development,’’ Dr Surman says.

His visit was funded by FutureinTech and hosted by Dr Sarah Masters.

 

For  more information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz

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