Kiwi sperm selection company acquired by global corporate

A cell-sorting startup with considerable significance for the trillion-dollar global livestock market has been bought by a global corporate that already has significant existing operations in New Zealand.

Co-founded in 2011 by University of Auckland Professor Cather Simpson and seed investment firm Pacific Channel, with the support of the University’s commercialisation company UniServices, Engender Technologies has developed a unique cell sorting technology with the potential to replace flow cytometry in a number of applications.

Engender Technologies has developed a unique cell sorting technique using lasers that can sort sperm by sex, and has the potential for replacing the current approach to sorting all kinds of cells.

Engender has been acquired by CRV International, a co-operative of 27,000 dairy and beef farmers and an international leader in the livestock industry, for an undisclosed sum.

Professor Cather Simpson, from the Physics Department in the Faculty of Science and Engender Chief Scientific Officer, has been the driving force behind the technology’s development and is thrilled with the purchase.

“The R&D team is over the moon. Working from inside an international leader in the livestock industry will allow us to fully accelerate translating our technology to benefit farmers.”

 


Professor Cather Simpson

Engender CEO Brent Ogilvie said CRV International has been a valuable partner in the development of the company’s technology since it first committed resources in 2016.

“Importantly, the acquirer has signaled its intention to keep Engender staff in New Zealand where the research and development expertise lies. Their backing as an international strategic partner will ensure that Engender can take its Kiwi innovation worldwide.”

Lachlan Nixon, Senior Associate at Pacific Channel, said there is more than one positive outcome to the purchase

“It is exciting to know that we will be able to take funds from this transaction and re-invest them in other brilliant kiwi technology companies over the next few years.”

Will Charles, Executive Director of UniServices Commercialisation agreed that recycling capital is critical to New Zealand’s ability to continue to fund the next generation of great start-ups.

“It is a perfect example of how working with local investors like Pacific Channel gets some of the great science carried out at places like University of Auckland into global supply chains.

“It is very heartening when we see these initiatives start to bear fruit.”