Improving people's health through world-class research & development

"Research and development (R&D) sits at the heart of AFT Pharmaceuticals"  Hartley Atkinson, Managing Director, AFT Pharmaceuticals.

Innovation in pharmaceuticals can take two forms:

1. developing and licensing new drugs and devices.

2. taking an existing product and making it better. The pain-relief drug fentanyl is a good example. First developed in the 1950s, fentanyl was made available intravenously (i.e through a needle). But with technology improvements, fentanyl can now be taken through skin patches, tablets, and even lollipops. So R&D can be about improving rather than completely new discoveries.

AFT Pharmaceuticals undertakes both forms of R&D.

It’s how we have produced new products like Maxigesic and the Maxiclear range that have been licensed all around the world. This is despite the pain-relief and allergy treatment markets being among the most competitive pharmaceuticals categories internationally. R&D allows us to make
the very best products in areas we specialise in and then take them global.

It’s also how we have improved on existing treatments available to people. For instance, first-aid creams have been around for decades and lots of companies make them. But we wanted to provide a first-aid treatment that was effective, slow-release, and did not carry a risk of furthering antibiotic resistance. So Crystaderm was developed to meet this criteria. It’s now the market leading first-aid treatment product in New Zealand.

Our R&D programme is also vital for AFT Orphan.

Rare conditions necessitate ‘outside-of-the-box’ thinking because treatments may not be well advanced or conditions not well understood. Again, providing cost-effective treatment options can involve our R&D team creating new orphan treatments, or licensing products from other suppliers who have themselves undertaken extensive research and product development.

“In the global marketplace, export success comes from being the best in the world at what you do”. 

Sir Paul Callaghan, GNZM FRS FRSNZ, New Zealander of the Year, 2011.