New facility marks new era for Keraplast

New facility marks new era for Keraplast

World-leading biotechnology company Keraplast has officially opened its new office and manufacturing facility in Islington, Christchurch.

The company, which extracts keratin from New Zealand sheep wool, was originally based in Lincoln, but now has all of its manufacturing, research and development functions under one roof at 520 Waterloo Road.

Iwi members from Ngāi Tahu performed a Karakia at dawn on 5 June to welcome Keraplast to the site, before the Minister for Women, Associate Minister for Agriculture, and Minister of State for Trade Hon Nicola Grigg cut the ribbon and officially opened the new facility.

Keraplast chief executive Howard Moore says the new facility is about double the size of their previous base, with capacity to process over 300 tonnes of wool per year – nearly four times their previous output.

“The opening of the new site marks a new era for Keraplast, where we can continue to lead Keratin R&D globally by developing new innovative keratin products whilst expanding our manufacturing capabilities to meet the increased demand for our existing portfolio of personal care, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical keratin ingredients.”

Using technology created and owned by the company, Keraplast extracts keratin proteins from sheep wool, blending them together to create ingredients that are 91% similar to human keratin and used in global skin, hair and nail care brands, including Nutrafol, Glow Lab and Naomi Whittel. The new facility will enable the company to also expand its offering to include skincare products with anti-ageing, wound healing and scar removal properties. Keraplast currently exports to more than 20 countries, including China, United States, Indonesia and Korea, with Europe a key future focus.

Mr Moore says this development comes at a time when the New Zealand wool industry is struggling. “By targeting a value-add market, we have been able to generate a market value 20 times greater than if the wool was exported as a raw product. The value of our 14 ingredient products that we export from that wool exceeded $10 million in 2023 instead of less than half a million on the open market.”

Mr Moore says another key focus for Keraplast over the next twelve months is to achieve the “aspirational goal” of carbon zero emissions, with the company’s use of regenerative wool and 100% renewable energy giving them a head start on this journey.

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