Bright ideas come to light at K.C. Forum

Highlights from the 8th-annual Investment Forum, sponsored by the KC Animal Health Corridor

Corn—it’s more than a food source. Mazen Animal Health sees corn, or maize, as a low-cost platform for the production of oral vaccines designed for livestock, cats and dogs.

The idea won over a panel of judges Aug. 30 at the eighth annual Investment Forum in Kansas City, Mo., where CEO Jennifer Filbey earned the company a $10,000 check by delivering the day’s best presentation.

More importantly, Mazen drew the attention of hundreds of investors and animal health executives in the audience. The event, sponsored by the KC Animal Health Corridor, is designed to generate capital or strategic partnerships for young companies with veterinary products at various stages of development.

Here are snapshots of the 17 companies selected to present.

Mazen Animal Health St. Joseph, Mo.

Idea: Orally delivered vaccines using recombinant antigen produced in a proprietary maize system

Quote: “By eliminating the needle we decrease animal handling, which decreases animal stress. We completely eliminate injection-site issues and broken needles, and we can dose in line with current farming practices.” (CEO Jennifer Filbey, Ph.D.)

Aptimmune Champaign, Ill.

Idea: Intranasally administered PRRS, influenza and autogenous vaccines for swine

Quote: “Why PRRS [porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome]? PRRS is the most costly disease [affecting] swine producers worldwide. Globally it represents billions of dollars of lost productivity each year.” (Aaron Gilbertie, CEO and president)

Arthramid Labs Dublin, Ireland

Idea: Hydrogel implant for the treatment of osteoarthritis by stimulating the regeneration of the synovial membrane

Quote: “We are making the choice to focus first on the equine niche market … before moving on to the next stage.” (Charles Calleja, managing director)

Curtiss Healthcare Inc. Alachua, Fla.

Idea: Utilizing a recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine to develop a range of vaccines for any bacterial, viral or parasite pathogen in animals or humans

Quote: “Our business strategy is really quite simple. We’re going to take our initial products—the first four, to be exact—on the avian side, and we will partner with a major pharma company.” (Thomas J. Bigger, CEO and president)

Epibiome Inc. South San Francisco, Calif.

Idea: Bacteriophage cocktails for use on bovine mastitis

Quote: “This is a platform technology, and we possess both the bacterial profiling and the bacterial remediation capabilities.” (CEO and co-founder Nick Conley, Ph.D.)

Healthy Cow Corp. Toronto, Canada

Idea: Prophylactic therapies to improve cow and calf health

Quote: “If we can improve reproduction and mastitis, which we have already shown, then we can potentially change the face of the dairy industry by reducing involuntary culling.” (Louis Hui, vice president of business development)

HOSSO Inc. Lowell, Mass.

Idea: Product line to significantly reduce rehabilitation time and incidences of equine lameness

Quote: “Using this deceptively simple brace we’re able to redirect the weight- bearing forces away from the flexor apparatus so that the horse can resume moderate exercise more quickly and more efficiently without fear of hyperextension or exacerbating the injury.” (CEO and President Mouli Ramani, MBA)

LabM2 Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

Idea: Naturally derived cleaning and disinfecting products

Quote: “We are seeking our next round of funding primarily to accelerate the commercialization of our product, but, as I’ve shown, we also have a pipeline of new development that we would wish to pursue as well.” (CEO Frank Palantoni, MBA)

Membrane Protective Technologies Inc. Fort Collins, Colo.

Idea: Products to protect sperm during the freezing and thawing process to improve fertility

Quote: “Our technology is protected in agriculturally important areas of the world by both issued and pending patents.” (President Lisa Herickhoff, Ph.D.)

Mileutis Ltd. Gan Yavne, Israel

Idea: Peptides for the treatment of mastitis in dairy cattle

Quote: “Mileutis expects to engage with a manufacturing partner by the end of 2016 and begin clinical trials for U.S. licensure in June 2017.” (CEO and co-founder David Javier Iscovich, MBA)

NellOne Therapeutics Inc. Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Idea: Broad biological platform for the treatment of soft-tissue wounds in animals

Quote: “What will distinguish us in this space is that our products have a very simple delivery and therefore limit the veterinary time that is needed initially to care for these types of injuries.” (chief scientific officer and co-founder Cymbeline Culiat, Ph.D.)

Newton RFID Franklin, Tenn.

Idea: Mobile animal records and management using read/write RFID devices

Quote: “Our target market is not your standard horse that’s a pleasure horse out in the pasture; it’s the sport horse industry.” (President Mark Johnson)

Nuovo Biologics Davie, Fla.

Idea: Antiviral and oncology drug products for the companion animal market

Quote: “We have two primary options for an exit strategy. First … we can license our technology to a strategic partner. Second, we would be willing to entertain a merger and/or acquisition should the right opportunity present itself.” (chairman Jeff F. Fisher, RPh)

Philadelphia Animal Health Philadelphia

Idea: Viral capsid to deliver therapeutic genes into the cells of companion animals

Quote: “We’re here today because we come from the human side of development. We’re looking to start talking to animal health experts; we’re looking to start conversations with pharma.” (CEO Matthew Wilson)

Plasma Bionics Stillwater, Okla.

Idea: Cold plasma device to rapidly sterilize veterinary instruments at room temperature, using no water or chemicals

Quote: “Initially we intend to target smaller practitioners and mobile veterinary clinics.”(chief technology officer and co-founder Kedar Pai, Ph.D.)

R-NAV The Woodlands, Texas

Idea: Commercialized radio- labeled therapeutic products for rheumatologic and arthritic conditions in animals

Quote: “We will be providing new relief for our patients and, of course, new revenue streams for our specialty veterinary clinics.” (chief veterinary officer John M. Donecker, VMD)

TeleVet Austin, Texas

Idea: Digital communication platform for pet owners to consult with their preferred veterinarian

Quote: “As long as the veterinarian has actually seen the pet in person, then consultations like these can indeed be resolved through our platform.” (Price Fallin, co-founder and chief technical officer)


Originally published in the October 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today! 

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