Detecting TB in livestock and wild animals is a challenge worldwide.
The start-up’s international expansion has been made possible, just 12 months on from its launch, by new funding from New Anglia Capital – announced at the Royal Norfolk Show.
Dr Berwyn Clarke, CEO of PBD Biotech, said: “This investment from New Anglia Capital, and other investors, has enabled us to take the next-step in getting the Actiphage® technology into international markets.
“It has accelerated the company’s timeline, meaning we’re about six months ahead of where we were expecting to be. We now have a number of commercial opportunities all over the world that are ready to go. For an early-stage company this is an exciting position to be in.”
New Anglia Capital is a co-investment fund, managed by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in partnership with Anglia Capital Group, that brings angel investors together to kick-start new products and innovative ideas, as well as supporting existing high growth companies.
Commenting on the £125k investment in PBD Biotech, New Anglia LEP CEO Chris Starkie said: “Seed funding of this kind is vital for businesses to take innovative new ideas and turn them into something tangible – with job creation and economic growth the result.
“PBD Biotech is doing just that, and doing it within an industry sector that plays a key role in driving our economy forward.”
Earlier this month, PBD Biotech visited Canada as part of an innovation mission supported by Innovate UK.
It was through the 2017 Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority’s (SREDA) Agriculture Technology Harvest Program that PBD Biotech first showcased its novel technology to progressive organisations in the region. The relationships formed have been so fruitful that the company has chosen the province for its base.
Alex Fallon, SREDA President and CEO, explained: “Saskatchewan has long been a leader in animal and food health and is always looking to implement new processes and technology that benefit farmers and customers. PBD Biotech’s expansion to Saskatchewan will position the company for success in the Canadian market and ensure we’re at the forefront of utilising innovative products in this key sector.”
The proven Actiphage technology has the potential to become a significant tool in the detection and control of tuberculosis, Johne’s Disease and other mycobacterial diseases in animals as well as humans.
PBD Biotech’s highly sensitive and specific assay detects live bacteria in the blood or milk of cattle, sheep, elk and other exotic species in just six hours. It offers zoology and exotic species experts, veterinary surgeons, food manufacturers and farmers the opportunity for early and accurate detection of live bacteria, facilitating improved containment and control of diseases as well as food safety.
In May 2018, the UK Government accepted PBD Biotech’s phage-based technology for exceptional private use on TB-stricken cattle herds in England and international discussions are underway to market Actiphage in multiple regions including the USA, France, Dubai, Argentina, Brazil and Canada.
PBD Biotech was founded to develop and commercialise the Actiphage test from a technology originally used to detect TB in humans and adapted by Drs Cath Rees and Ben Swift at the University of Nottingham. It was set-up with funding from Nottingham University and New Anglia LEP’s co-investment fund.
The new funding will support international commercialisation of the diagnostic products and further field-based validation.