It has also appointed a new head for the business to help bring the ingredients to the marketplace.
LactoPharma, a joint venture with Auckland UniServices Limited, the commercial arm of the University of Auckland, is seeking to identify milk bioactives that could have a role in controlling major global health problems, such as obesity, asthma, osteoporosis or infection, and can be manufactured on a scale that is commercially viable for use in functional foods, nutraceuticals or health supplements.
The new head of LactoPharma, Dr Kannan Subramaniam, said: "In less than two years, our researchers have discovered a number of new bioactive components in milk and we have applied for patents for these. We consider several of them have the potential to create significant commercial returns for Fonterra."
He added: "Researchers have been studying milk for hundreds of years but using modern techniques they are still finding brand new substances. Milk is literally a rich soup of health-enhancing nutrients and at Fonterra we have expert knowledge of this."
Dr Subramaniam began his career as a medical practitioner and has worked as a clinician in the USA, Australia and New Zealand. He recently worked with Australian and New Zealand companies, including Bionova and IntraHealth, in the biotechnology, and information and communications technology sectors to commercialise the results of research and development.