Gold Awards for Dame Luamanuvao Winnie Laban and Ferrier Research Institute

Victoria University of Wellington celebrated two successes at last night’s Wellington Gold Awards, with Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) Hon Dame Luamanuvao Winnie Laban receiving the 'The Dominion Post Tribute to a Wellington Icon' award and the Ferrier Research Institute receiving the Discovery Gold award.

Established in 1999, the Wellington Gold Awards celebrate excellence and enterprise in the Wellington region.

About 900 people gathered at this year's event to celebrate and acknowledge the 57 finalists.

Dame Winnie was the first Pacific Island woman Member of Parliament and has been Victoria University's Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) for eight years, providing direction and support to Pacific students and staff, which has seen an increase in enrolments and achievement.

Dame Winnie became a Dame Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) for her services to education and the Pacific community earlier this year and has worked tirelessly to bring people together for positive and meaningful outcomes and results, says Wellington Gold Awards Director John Dow.

Victoria University’s Ferrier Research Institute received the Discovery Gold Award for their drug Mundesine®, which treats patients with previously hard-to-treat lymphomas. The drug was first synthesised by Ferrier Research Institute Director Professor Richard Furneaux and Professor Peter Tyler in collaboration with Professor Vern Schramm from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. The drug has been commercialised with the assistance of Viclink, Victoria University’s commercialisation arm, and is currently available to patients in Japan.

“The Mundesine® success story is an excellent example of the both the commercial credibility and dedication to translation within the Ferrier Research Institute team,” says Anne Barnett, CEO of Viclink. “It is a pleasure for Viclink to work with Ferrier to guide their world-leading science through to realisation in the market place”.