By Sian Lazell
September 7, 2016
This year, the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor (KCAHC) Investment Forum had the highest number of applicants since its inception in 2008.
Animal health and nutrition companies from throughout the world – seeking $500,000 to $20 million in funding and have revenue projections of $20 million within five to seven years – were eligible to take part.
The forum saw 48 companies apply in 2016, with 17 ultimately selected to present their innovations and new technologies to a panel of industry experts in a bid to secure funding and win the Innovation Award.
Winner: Mazen Animal Health
The Innovation Award for 2016 was granted to Mazen Animal Health – with a funding prize of $10,000. The firm is developing an antigen expression platform for the oral delivery of vaccines, developed using maize grain.
Mazen has exclusive rights to the technology from the Applied Biotechnology Institute (ABI) in California. The company explained the corn matrix provides bio-encapsulation of antigens enabling longer availability in the digestive system to reach target cells for an immune response.
Chief executive, Jennifer Filbey, claimed proof-of-concept research has demonstrated both an immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin A (types of antibodies) immune response following oral delivery and protection against a challenge, that is comparable to injectable vaccines in several animal species with different pathogens.
Dr Filbey said: "We are seeking strategic alliances with animal health companies to develop antigens of their interest. Mazen is focused on developing swine vaccines and wishes to partner with animal health companies to develop oral vaccines in other areas such as aquaculture, poultry and companion animals."
The firm plans to develop, produce and commercialize oral vaccines and said it is leveraging the commercial manufacturing already developed at ABI. Projected revenue from its product development is calculated to equal approximately $8.25 million between H2 2020 and H1 2021.
Mazen is based in St Joseph, Missouri and was founded in 2015. Its funding to date includes $600,000 in work in kind and $60,000 in expenses.
Other presenting companies:
Established in 2010 and located in Illinois, Aptimmune is developing and working to commercialize a portfolio of mucosal vaccines that it claims provide superior efficacy against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) – the most costly disease to the swine industry – and influenza.
The company holds exclusive worldwide license to patents for three core technologies used to develop and manufacture its mucosal vaccines: nanoparticle, adjuvant, antigen composition; its ZMAC cell line – PRRSV manufacturing; and PRRSV strain. Aptimmune also holds license options to nanoparticle technology currently being evaluated that is said may enhance enable a quicker progression to market for its products.
Aptimmune's initial product launch is expected in the fourth quarter of 2016. It will first focus on US sales and marketing, targeting the top 50 swine producers and consulting veterinarians, which it said account for around 80% of the market opportunity.
Aptimmune's predicted product revenue by 2020 is approximately $49.66m. Its current investors are Arsenal Capital Management, Common Place Holdings, Illinois Ventures, The Yield Lab, Fox Ventures, and Midwest Angel Investors. It has secured $2.1m in funding to date.
Arthramid Labs is seeking a partnership in R&D, regulatory, marketing and global distribution efforts for a medical device for osteoarthritis. Its visco-elastic endoprosthesis is described by the firm as described as "an articular capsule bio-scaffold" designed for synovial membrane tissue.
The device is an injectable intra-articular soft implant made of patented viscoelastic inert hydrogel, contained in a sterile one milliliter syringe. According to Arthramid, the implant has proven long-lasting mechanical effects for osteoarthritic horses and dogs.
The firm said: "More ongoing data and publications will be generated regarding its mode of action as a regenerative mechanical solution, on equine and canine synovial membrane tissue for instance. Other uses are also very interesting, with global veterinary market needs."
The 2.5% polyacrylamide hydrogel is the original and optimized formula with a three times patented formulation. The company claims to have strong intellectual property protection for the technology, including EU and US patents as a hydrogel for endoprosthesis. It expects additional new patents for new generation formulas as the product evolves.
Arthramid predicts revenues of around $20.51m by 2020. Founded in 2014, the firm is currently funded by Irish angel investors and has received a total of $500,000 in funding to date. Arthramid is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.
Curtiss is working on a recombinant attenuated salmonella vaccine vector platform for the development of vaccines against any bacterial, viral or parasite pathogen that only requires the identity of the protective antigens in animals and humans.
The firm said modifications used in traditional ways of developing live, infectious bacterial and viral vaccines "very much reduce immunogenicity and thus often have poor efficacy in inducing protective immunity without multiple vaccinations with high doses of the vaccine agent". Curtiss claims its technology addresses these problems.
The company holds exclusive licenses to the core technologies invented or co-invented by one of its founders, Dr Roy Curtiss III. Its intellectual property portfolio contains over 130 patents providing global protection in over 30 different countries, with additional patents pending.
Curtiss has projected fifth-year revenues of $95.28m. The firm is seeking partnerships with animal health companies to support its R&D, sales, distribution and marketing activities.
It is currently funded by Sanofi-Sunrise and the firm has raised a total of $1.4m to date. The company is based in Florida.
EpiBiome was established in 2013 and is looking to partner with animal health companies to develop US FDA-approved antibiotic alternative for livestock that have short or zero day withholding times. The company uses non-genetically modified, bacteria-specific, natural viruses that are harmless to humans.
The company's lead candidates are ECO-01 and ADJ-02, which target E coli and S aureus bovine mastitis, respectively. Nick Conley, chief executive and co-founder, told forum delegates EpiBiome anticipates FDA approval to market its new animal drug in 2020 and intends to partner with veterinary pharma for distribution.
EpiBiome's current investors are: Viking Global Investors; Matrix Capital Management; Alexandria Venture Investments; SV Tech Ventures; China Rock Capital Management; and China Ding Cheng Holding Group. Its funding so far stands at $6.1m in venture financing and $1m in debt financing. The company is located in San Francisco, California.
Healthy Cow Corporation
Healthy Cow Corporation (HCC) is a biotechnology company focused on developing natural prophylactic therapies for the dairy industry.
The firm's first products are ProMunity and ProPreg. ProMunity is an immuno-modulator indicated to reduce bacterial infections, systemic inflammation, sick days and the need for antibiotics. It claims to reduce milk somatic cell counts, circulatory inflammatory cytokines, incidences of laminitis and retained placenta complications.
ProPreg is a reproductive probiotic indicated to provide a healthy reproductive micro-biome, decrease uterine infections and reduce calving losses. It claims to reduce milk somatic cell counts, circulating acute-phase proteins, abortion, metritis cases, calving to conception turnaround days and improve fertility rate.
HCC is looking for joint development, sale and distribution partnerships and predicts year four sales of approximately $4.27m.
The company has received $300,000 in funding since it was founded in 2012 and it is currently financially supported by its founders and dairy producer investors. It is based in Ontario, Canada.
Based in Massachusetts, HOSSO is a biotechnology firm seeking distribution, equine rehabilitation center, veterinarian and commercial partners for its FastTrack and TendonBuddy orthotic legwear to reduce the incidence of lameness and rehabilitation time.
The products are designed to redirect weight-bearing forces to enable a horse to perform moderate exercise meaning the animal can recover more quickly. FastTrack is a rehabilitative/preventative product which HOSSO plans to commercialize in H1 2017 and TendonBuddy is a preventative product the firm plans to commercialize in H2 2018.
HOSSO will develop and maintain four independent sales channels through veterinarians, rehabilitation centers, distributors, and direct sales to consumers. At the forum, chief executive of the firm and president Mouli Ramani said: "While initial sales will exclusively be made through equine rehabilitation centers and veterinarians, the emphasis over time will be to drive additional sales into higher net margin channels. Specifically, HOSSO will enter the market using a direct sales force in the United States and Canada and via a distributor network internationally."
Hosso's projected revenues for FastTrack by 2020 are around $30m. Revenues for TendonBuddy by 2020 are predicted to reach over $90m.
HOSSO's funding since it was established in 2011 stands at $3.5m. It has secured seed funding by a number of angel investors including industry chief executives, veterinarians for the US Olympic equestrian team and owners of elite competitive horses.
Membrane Protective Technologies
Membrane Protective Technologies (MPTI) was founded in 2012 and is focused on animal reproduction.
MPTI is gearing up to launch its first technology to improve the quality of frozen/thawed sperm and is seeking strategic partnerships for R&D, sales, distribution and marketing.
The business' GameteGuard is a semen extender designed to prevent oxidative damage to sperm during handling, freezing and thawing, to improve artificial insemination pregnancy rates in dairy and beef cows.
MPTI explained GameteGuard can also be applied to most other agricultural species such as swine, turkeys, chickens and horses, as well as embryo production. It added that future products for other species are already being developed.
The firm told forum attendees: "The primary sales channel for MPTI's first product, GameteGuard for bull sperm, will be direct to the bull studs. The bull studs will sell, via existing channels, to our secondary customer (their primary customer), the dairy farms and cattle ranches."
MPTI has received $750,000 in funding to date. It is currently backed by company principals and agricultural investors and is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Mileutis is looking to establish distribution agreements with leading animal health companies in "specific geographical regions" for its leading intramammary products for the treatment and prevention of mastitis, MLT – 1/3 and MLT – 2.
MLT – 1/3 is indicated to precipitously dry off mammary gland secretion in treated glands which Mileutis claims results in a higher resistance to new intramammary infections. The firm also said MLT – 1/3 has been shown to increase milk production in the next lactation following treatment.
MLT – 2 is indicated as an antibiotic residual-free product for treating clinical and subclinical mastitis during the lactation. Mileutis claims the product enables the veterinarian to milk cows and avoid the discarded milk requirement of antibiotic treatments. It added that MLT – 2 can be used to treat severe clinical mastitis cases, lowering the frequency of culling or early dry off.
The company is based in Israel and has secured $10.15m of funding since it was founded in 2004. It is currently supported by 17 angel investors, L Kobic Animal Health, and Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation.
NellOne is developing regenerative therapeutics based on mammalian signalling protein NELL1 to treat severe soft tissue injuries that are hard to treat with currently available products.
Its first products will target equine wound healing. NT-101E is a new animal drug product already used in an FDA-approved biodegradable wound dressing. The firm said additional products in its pipeline are being developed to heal complications to wound healing and regenerate equine soft tissue. These include NT-102E, and injectable form of NELL1 which the company is filing patents for.
Co-founder and chief executive of NellOne, Tracy Warren, said the firm is looking to develop partnerships with animal health companies for co-development, marketing and/or distribution of its products to leading veterinary clinics and private hospitals.
Established in 2007, NellOne has so far received $2.9m in financial backing from its own management and individuals with close links to the firm. The company is located in Tennessee.
Focused on animal identification and digital records management, Newton is looking to strike up strategic partnerships with existing animal ID, animal software and animal health records companies for its initial product EquipassID.
EquipassID is a radio frequency identification (RFID) injectable microchip for horses. The microchip can store a number of digital files for each animal, such as the horse's life information, owner details, breed association details, insurance information and medical data. All information stored on the microchip can be accessed via a mobile records management application.
Tennessee-based Newton predicts year four sales of the software as a service of around $5.65m and 34,867 subscribers. The firm said its initial product launch will be in the equine market with subsequent products using the technology for ruminant and other livestock sectors.
The company was founded in 2011 and has had $10,000 of investment to date from an individual investor.
Nuovo Biologics is developing a platform of protein drugs to treat viral disease and cancer. The firm has a One Health approach to its product development and said while many drugs for treating bacterial infections already exist, there are few antiviral drugs.
The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of its PVX and MMX drug platforms is a short chain protein that is "derived from natural sources and subsequently chemically modified". Nuovo said it has also produced a synthetic version of the API peptide precursor.
Florida-headquartered Nuovo has been granted an investigational new animal drug number for PVX to treat all companion animals and a second INAD for MMX to treat stage II and III canine oral malignant melanoma and a minor use designation for the same disease indication.
The firm is looking to secure funding to complete FDA animal health claims in addition to establishing strategic partnerships with animal health companies for distribution and marketing.
Nuovo was set up in 2010 and is currently funded by private equity investors.
Philadelphia Animal Health
Philadelphia Animal Health (PAH) develops one-time injectable therapeutics for companion animals to treat common illnesses using gene transfer technology.
PAH uses a "biologic Trojan horse" to deliver therapeutic DNA to cells for continuous production. It said data in large animals has demonstrated gene expression in this way and the platform can be used for many indications.
PAH's lead candidate MEOW 101 will target anemia associated with chronic kidney disease in cats. The firm claimed: "As an untapped market with no species-specific biologics available, we believe there are no compelling direct market comparisons to a possible therapeutic we may sell."
It added: "The platform can be applied to any validated infusible biologic application. Potential market opportunities can expand rapidly once other indications are pursued from the pipeline. We have validated five of these indications in final species models."
PAH is a clinical stage company established in 2014, built on technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania's Gene Therapy Program, which is a current investor. The firm is also financially supported by its president and so far has gathered $700,000 in funding.
Chief executive Matt Wilson said PAH is seeking to build partnerships to enhance preclinical and clinical development in the areas of anemia, allergies, cancer, diabetes and pain management in companion animals. The firm expects to generate revenues from MEOW 101 by 2020.
Established in 2012, Plasma Bionics is a medical device manufacturer looking for partnerships in the animal health industry to support R&D, sales and distribution efforts for its proprietary cold sterilization technology.
The company claims to have developed a device that can sterilize medical equipment in less time with higher efficiency, using no water or harmful chemicals. The technology uses air at atmospheric pressure and room temperature to produce cold plasma which inactivates microorganisms and toxins on the surfaces of medical instruments. Plasma Bionics said the scalability of its device enables sterilization of a broad range of medical equipment.
The company predicts revenue of around $24.48m by 2020. To date, it has secured $167,000 in funding. Its current investors are Cowboy Technologies, the OSU Research Foundation and the OSU Technology Development Center. Plasma Bionic is located in Oklahoma.
Convetra is a subsidiary of R-NAV which has developed a proprietary platform based on a novel biomedical tin isotope for veterinary and human treatments for arthritis, cancer and laminitis.
Convetra's first product is Synovetin OA, a treatment for canine osteoarthritis which the firm expects to launch to specialty veterinary clinics by Q1 2017. Synovetin OA is an intra-articular injection designed to provide treatment for synovitis and restore patient mobility for a duration of at least six months.
Convetra projects revenue for the treatment for use in elbow osteoarthritis will equal approximately $33.87m by 2020.
The firm's parent company R-NAV was formed in 2014 to develop and commercialize radiolabelled diagnostic and therapeutic products for rheumatologic and arthritic conditions. Since its establishment, the Texan company has received $6m in funding. Its investors are Crown Venture Fund and Infinity Capital III.
TeleVet is an animal health technology company founded in 2015. The company's software enables digital consultations with veterinarians via a pet owner's mobile device.
Co-founder of TeleVet, Price Fallin, explained owners log in to a portal and submit a case with a description of their pet's condition and can upload images or videos they want to share with their veterinarian, in addition to just submitting general questions. Vets receive notifications and can provide treatment plans or answers within the time requested by the owner.
TeleVet is looking to partner with firms that have a large client base for distribution and sales, veterinary clinic franchise licensees and additional investors. It is also seeking pet hardware integration, animal pharmaceutical delivery and pet insurance partnerships.
At present, the firm is supported by three investors and has accumulated $90,000 in funding to date. It predicts total sales of $7.32m by 2018. TeleVet is headquartered in Oklahoma.
Canadian firm LabM2 is seeking partnerships for sales, distribution, and marketing for its Thymox technology and next-generation product development including drug approvals and continued intellectual property.
Thymox is a patented formulation with a botanically derived active ingredient developed for a range of antimicrobial cleaning and disinfectant applications. LabM2 believes its technology "provides focused, targeted efficacy, with no environmental or worker safety hazards."
In animal health, Thymox is used as a footbath to treat digital dermatitis of the hoof which Lab M2 said is the most costly health problem in the dairy cow industry. Thymox Footbath generates revenue on North America and China. LabM2 said it is developing European markets with a global, strategic partner. Thymox was also recently approved as an animal drug in Canada.
LabM2 predicts revenues of Can$48m ($37.34m) by 2019 – revenues for Thymox Footbath specifically are projected at over Can$30m ($23.34m) by 2019.
LabM2 was founded in 2009 and has received $7m in funding to date. It is currently backed by its founder Serge Auray, Cycle Capital, Desjardins Venture, Capital Financière, Agricole and FIER Asbestos Capital.
Last month, Québec-based LabM2 explained its strategy to Animal Pharm.
Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News