AgResearch scientists are working with Korean counterparts to discover what components of deer velvet may help boost immune systems.
Deer antler products are commonly used in northern Asian countries in the winter to boost people's immune systems and fight off colds and flus.
Senior scientist Stephen Haines said a major factor in selling deer velvet in key markets like South Korea and China was being able to prove the product does what the marketers claim.
He said AgResearch was working with Korean Ginseng Corporation, a large health food manufacturer and the biggest buyer of New Zealand deer velvet, to find out what specifically helps to boost the immune system.
"The key thing with deer velvet and the natural advantage that it has, is that it is a really complex product that has multiple active components. It's not just one active component.
"So our aim really is to identify as many of these active components as we can, and once you've done that you can then standardise your products.
"You can measure x and y and z and all the others and say, 'Well, this capsule of deer velvet extract or sachet or whatever, has so much of these proven active components' and overall, you know that that product is going to produce an effect."