News that Genzyme is in takeover talks with French biotechnology firm Sanofi-Aventis, should raises alarm bells for New Zealand taxpayers.
Genzyme has a partnership with AgResearch - a government-owned Crown Research Institute (CRI). The proposed takeover will add to concerns about the continued funding and research trials that are currently under challenge in the High Court.
Sanofi-Aventis is considering entering a new patent venture as its current high-income products fall out of patent in the next two years. New Zealand may have been picked out as a place to create GE animals because of the country's position on expired patents.
Though this may suit ventures capitalists, it leaves New Zealand�s environment and reputation dangerously exposed, with experimental GE animals suffering severe deformities, wrongly expressing proteins, generational sterility and high rates of sudden death.
The proposed takeover of Genzyme also adds complication to the status of the suffering deformed GE animals that are in the outdoor facility at Ruakura. Genzyme�s poor performance and million-dollar debt had already put all its partnership deals under doubt. If it goes ahead the new deal could leave AgResearch in a vulnerable position should it be cut loose in the takeover process.
AgResearch could become even more of a pawn in the game of corporate science. The intellectual property that they are using from overseas partners will yet again be of no benefit to New Zealanders. The known proteins that are being genetically engineered into animals cause much suffering, yet these are being made through safer processes and are available and approved for the market.
�Why put at risk New Zealand biosecurity and quality standards for a the benefit of speculative corporations who�s interests are not those of New Zealand,� says Claire Bleakley from GE-Free NZ in food and environment.
�It is time AgResearch looked at benefiting New Zealand farmers with common sense research that benefits all New Zealanders and will secure rather than undermine our overseas markets. Funding must go to the high-end value-add market that provides safety, quality and purity. GE is not part of that future and directly threatens our export economy."
Claire Bleakley -06 3089842 / 027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet - 0210507681