New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra has appointed Dr Kannan Subramaniam, a clinician with expertise in the growing field of biotechnology research and development, to head its joint venture unit LactoPharma.

LactoPharma, a joint venture consortium with Auckland UniServices, the commercial arm of The University of Auckland, established with support from the Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST), is seeking to identify novel, biologically active components, or bioactives, in milk that are beneficial to human health and can be manufactured on a scale that is commercially viable.

“We have world-class scientists from both Fonterra and the university working on the discovery of new bioactives we can patent. These may have a role in controlling major global health problems, such as obesity, asthma, osteoporosis or infection,” said Dr Subramaniam.

“It will be very exciting for me to see some of these discoveries taken to the commercial stage where Fonterra is manufacturing them on a large scale as functional food ingredients, nutraceuticals or health supplements,” he added.