Protein science

protein science hero

Our protein science teams are specialists in molecular biology and protein bioprocessing, offering expertise in biochemistry, genetic engineering, extraction, isolation, and characterisation of bioactive proteins and peptides.

Our areas of expertise


For a full list of our services relating to protein science services see Protein services.


Genetic engineering and recombinant protein expression

In-house expertise to design and synthesize genes and gene constructs, with a suite of expression vectors for protein expression in a range of microbial, yeast, and mammalian cell lines. Potential scaled production capability from 1L to 1000L.

Antibody technologies

Antibody engineering for production, isolation and purification of recombinant antibodies.

Protein and peptide isolation, characterisation and analysis in complex systems

Extensive experience in isolation, purification, and identification of valuable proteins, peptides and biologics from meat, plants, foods, microbial and biological sources. Structural and functional analysis of proteins and protein conjugates.

Chemoenzymatic reactions

Experience in industrial and scaled use of enzymes, chemoenzymatic reactions to generate new products, and the processing of glycoproteins and lipids.


Expertise in production, manipulation and physicochemical analysis of protein nanomaterials and protein biomaterials, including in-vitro permeation studies (transdermal and transmucosal) of formulated products.

Biochemical assays and analysis

Expertise and instrumentation to support biochemical and functional analysis of small and large macromolecules, chemical analysis of component fractions, cell culture assays, and analysis of natural and prepared biomaterials.

Case studies

Wound healing product from a by-product of the meat industry

Business opportunity
Our scientists helped Mesynthes (now Aroa Biosurgery) to convert parts of sheep stomachs into a ready-to-use tissue substitute, called Endoform™, which speeds up healing and stimulates the regrowth of the recipients’ own tissue. It is used to treat wounds, such as burns and ulcers, and reduces scarring.

What we did
With our help, Mesynthes was able to identify and better understand the biological components in its products. We also assisted in the development of a commercial-scale manufacturing process that uses biomimicry, in which the natural properties of the tissue are harnessed to aid its processing.

Mesynthes received permission to sell its product in the US in 2010, where it has been hugely successful, and is expanding its product range.

Medicinal milk

Business opportunity
We helped Canterbury-based milk powder company Synlait Milk to develop an innovative premium product aimed at people with sleep disorders.

What we did
Synlait’s Night Milk, which is undergoing trials to determine effectiveness, uses milk collected from cows at night, when they express the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

Our role in the project was to develop new testing procedures that verified the levels of the product’s active ingredients. While standard testing methods exist, they have not previously been tested or optimised for complex dairy matrices.

Development and scale-up production of a protein nanomaterial

Business opportunity
Through an industry placement (secondment) to Hi-Aspect Ltd, Callaghan Innovation lead the development and manufacture of Fibraspect300™, a biomaterial composed of protein nanofibrils. This platform technology serves as a high surface area scaffold for the managed-delivery of active ingredients, and enables the prolonged in-situ residence of topical formulations. 

What we did
We lead the technology strategy and provided nanotechnology expertise, protein characterisation, product development, pilot scale manufacturing and technology transfer to co-develop and scale-up this product from 1g to 500kg.

Fibraspect300™ is the key ingredient exclusive to the NewLogic™, medicated skincare product line currently being sold in New Zealand.