South Korea's largest pharmaceutical company has signed a deal to launch a range of products made from New Zealand deer velvet.
Yuhan Corporation today signed a memorandum of understanding with Deer Industry New Zealand, and also entered agreements with AgResearch and Alpine Deer Group.
It plans to develop a range of health food products and supplements made with New Zealand deer velvet.
Deer velvet is used extensively in Asia as traditional medicine, and is said to help ease fatigue, counter stress and boost the immune system and people's general well-being.
Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup said the deal was a win for the industry.
"Today is about establishing a new friendship and partnership with a really important Korean partner. Yuhan Corporation is a very large, in fact Korea's largest pharmaceutical company, so they're another really sophisticated customer for New Zealand deer products, and our first genuine pharmaceutical company partner, so it's a quite important and significant step up for our industry."
Yuhan spokeswoman Ashley Chung said the company could not overlook New Zealand as the source of its deer velvet.
"It's not really comparable with deer velvet in Russia, China and even in Korea. First of all the environment itself, it guarantees the quality. I mean the deer they thrive in this environment... so quality is number one as a pharma company, that's why we think that the deer velvet available in New Zealand is much for more valuable to us than any others."
She said the company would be investing a minimum of $1.5 million in research with AgResearch.