Vale Em. Prof. Sir Robert Elliot


It is with sorrow that AusBiotech acknowledges the passing of Living Cell Technologies (LCT) Founder, Emeritus Professor Sir Robert Elliott.

Chairman Dr Bernie Tuch has paid tribute to one of Australasia’s foremost scientific entrepreneurs.

“Bob leaves an incredible legacy,” said Dr Tuch, “one we are humbled to be a part of. We were fortunate to have Bob on the Board right up until his death. At 86 years of age, he was still coming up with new ideas.”

Sir Robert co-founded LCT (initially called Diatranz) with Auckland businessman David Collinson in 1987 aiming to commercialise his research into type 1 diabetes. Long-term AusBiotech member, the Australasian biotech company is now improving the wellbeing of people with serious diseases worldwide by discovering, developing and commercialising regenerative treatments that restore function using naturally occurring cells. LCT has been actively engaged in AusBiotech’s flagship investment events as well as involved in AusBiotech-led BIO delegations.

Dr Tuch continues, “The medical, scientific and biotechnology communities in New Zealand have lost a tireless researcher and a visionary pioneer. Long before Bob founded LCT, he was at the forefront of child health research in New Zealand.

“His research into cystic fibrosis and type 1 diabetes was world-renowned and he contributed to other biotechnology success stories including A2 Corporation and Somnaceutics.”

Sir Robert trained as a paediatrician at Adelaide University. He moved to New Zealand in 1970 to become the Foundation Professor, Director of Paediatrics at The University of Auckland. A world leader in diabetes and autoimmune-related research, he published more than 200 research papers and was an Emeritus Professor of Child Health Research.

A knighthood was recently awarded to Sir Robert in recognition of services to medical research. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious World Class New Zealander (Life Sciences) award. In 1999 he was awarded a CNZM (a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to the community.

AusBiotech sends its condolences to Robert’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.