About BioCatalyst

BioCatalyst Ltd is a biotechnology advisory business established in 2005 and is based in Auckland, New Zealand.


Drawing on the experience and interests
of its two directors, Maxine Simmons and John Kernohan, BioCatalyst is particularly well positioned to assist bioscience companies in optimising the business opportunity for their technology.


BioCatalyst can assist life science and biotechnology companies in the start-up and later stages of company development, providing advice and interim management expertise as required.


Maxine Simmons, MSc (Hons)

Managing Director


Maxine has over 30 years commercial experience in start-up and expansion stage private company development. Maxine founded one of New Zealand’s first biotechnology companies and was awarded a Distinguished New Zealand Biotechnologist Award in recognition for growing a significant biotechnology export business.


Maxine holds a Master of Science (Hons) degree in biological science from the University of Auckland and is a chartered member of the NZ Institute of Directors. She was a founding director of Industry New Zealand (now New Zealand Trade and Enterprise), a director of NZ’s Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, Crown Research Institute, Industrial Research Ltd, Chair of the NZ biotechnology Industry organization, NZBIO and represented New Zealand on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).


Maxine is Chief Executive of early-stage healthcare investment fund Cure Kid Ventures and is a director on a number of private healthcare companies in New Zealand.





Contact Maxine:


Mobile: +64 21 625 635

Email: maxine.simmons@biocatalyst.co.nz


John Kernohan, PhD



John A Kernohan, PhD



In 1988 John Kernohan joined the new Auckland UniServices Limited as founding CEO. UniServices is the commercial research and technology transfer organisation of the University of Auckland. By the time he retired in 2005, UNiServices had started more than 23 businesses in New Zealand, UK and USA and licensed more than 150 technologies.


In addition, UniServices had developed a contract research activity putting the University of Auckland into the top 20 of the world’s successful university originators of new technologies. UniServices has revenues of over $70 million annually and employs over 600 staff in its own right in addition to University employees who work on its projects.


Since retiring from UniServices. John continues to be involved in various aspects of business and research, particularly biotechnology projects through his involvement in BioCatalyst Limited. John was educated in Auckland and gained MSc from the University of Auckland in Chemistry, going on to complete a PhD is Chemistry at Boston University. He studied towards an MBA at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio.


For five years John worked various roles for General Electric Company in research, product development and manufacture of then state of the art luminescent materials for the lighting, aerospace, entertainment and medical fields. His projects involved R&D, manufacture and marketing. On returning to New Zealand he completed the change into business management, working for 14 years in various CEO roles for ICI involving the manufacture and marketing of mainly chemically-related products and introducing them to the market in New Zealand and the Pacific.




Contact John:


Mobile: +64 21 366 451

Email: john.kernohan@biocatalyst.co.nz




Maxine Simmons, MSc

Managing Director