TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 28, 2014) - AbCelex Technologies Inc., a privately-held Canadian biotechnology company committed to the discovery and development of innovative solutions to advance the health of food animals and human food safety, announced today it has closed on $2.0 million in Series A venture capital financing. The round was led by Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, LP, a Chicago-based fund with substantial expertise in agriculture and industrial biotechnology sectors.
The funds will support research and development of the company's antibody-based approach to control pathogens in farm animals related to food-borne illnesses. With a growing world population, human food safety remains a pressing challenge. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. report that in the U.S. about 1 in 6, or 48 million, people get sick each year from contaminated food with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually. Increasing health concerns over microbial resistance to antibiotics is driving government regulators to encourage alternatives to the regular use of antibiotics in farm animals.
AbCelex Technologies is pleased to welcome Ron Meeusen, Matthew Bell, and Paul Dick to the Company's Board of Directors.
Ron Meeusen, PhD
Dr. Meeusen is a Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox and co-founder and Managing Partner of Cultivian Ventures. Ron has over 30 years of experience in bringing new technologies and products to market. He has led research and development for major corporations in agricultural chemicals, field crop and vegetable genetics and breeding, animal health, novel foods and industrial materials. Ron has been a frequent speaker at conferences, a consultant to Federal policy on biotechnology regulatory issues, and active in industry trade groups. Prior to forming Cultivian Ron led the expansion of the biotechnology research and development program of Dow AgroSciences, and founded a successful biopharmaceutical company, Immuneworks, Inc. Ron represents Cultivian on the board of directors of Allylix, Proterro and Rivertop Renewables, and represents Cultivian Sandbox on the board of EnEvolv. He was also a member of the boards of directors of Divergence, Inc., which was sold to Monsanto Company in February of 2011, and of Aratana Therapeutics, which went public in 2013. Ron holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in plant cell biology.
Mr. Bell is a Principal of Cultivian Sandbox. Matt has over 9 years of technology commercialization and startup experience through his time with the University of Michigan's Office of Technology Transfer where he was directly involved with the formation activities of over 20 startup companies. Prior to working at the University, Matt spent over 10 years in the Agriculture industry working for several production Ag supply companies including Growmark Incorporated where he was involved with their highly regarded precision farming services group. Matt has two degrees from the University of Illinois in Agronomy and a Masters of Business Administration and spent much of his early career as a professional grain farmer on the family farm that he grew up on in Central Illinois.
Paul Dick, DVM, MSc
Dr. Dick has 25 years of experience in the animal health industry including product development, regulatory affairs, business development, commercialization and general management. Roles in this sector have involved both large and medium multinationals and small start-up companies, in various capacities including COO of Naturagen Health Solutions within Elanco and CEO of Chemaphor involved in development of pharmaceuticals and veterinary natural health products. Dr. Dick has worked extensively with Health Canada's Veterinary Drugs Directorate and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on numerous regulatory submissions and on departmental committees. He has served a number of organizations including as Director of the Canadian Animal Health Institute, President of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, and peer reviewer of NSERC strategic grants. He holds a veterinary degree with advanced training in infectious diseases and immunology.
"Backed by Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, we are well on our way to developing our lead anti-Campylobacter product for poultry. AbCelex's antibody-based approach to controlling harmful pathogens is poised to have a dramatic impact on human food safety", said Dr. Babaei, President & CEO of AbCelex Technologies. "Our innovative intellectual property platform combined with our proprietary genomics know-how allows us to deliver unique antimicrobial solutions against various pathogens in multiple farm animal species."
"AbCelex has some exciting next-generation biotechnology to address some of the world's pressing food safety challenges", said Dr. Meeusen of Cultivian Sandbox. "The team at AbCelex has overcome the difficulties in delivering antimicrobial antibodies through oral administration to farm animals. Their feed additive approach will revolutionize the treatment of many food-borne pathogens improving food safety for all of mankind."
About Cultivian Sandbox Ventures
Cultivian Sandbox is a venture capital firm focused on building next-generation disruptive agriculture and food technology companies capable of generating superior returns. As both experienced operating managers and venture investors we add value to portfolio companies both through our highly skilled team and extensive industry network. Our expertise in sourcing, evaluating, closing, managing and ultimately exiting successful equity investments positions us not only to build stronger businesses, but reshape industries. Additional information can be found at: http://www.cultiviansbx.com.
About AbCelex Technologies Inc.
AbCelex Technologies Inc., is a privately-held Canadian biotechnology company committed to the discovery and development of innovative solutions to advance the health of food animals and improve human food safety. Employing advanced genetics and bioengineering techniques, AbCelex's antibody based approach delivers antimicrobial solutions against various pathogens in several food animal species implicated in food-borne illnesses. For more information, visit http://www.abcelex.com.