Suffolk-based PBD Biotech have received £125,000 from New Anglia Capital to expand its work into Canadian markets. PBD Biotech develops and commercialises Actiphage testing to identify TB cases quickly in cattle. This was based on technology to test for TB in humans by Dr Cath Rees and Dr Ben Swift from University of Nottingham. Based on their research they developed PBD Biotech. Together they developed a vital test for diagnosing bovine TB and Johne’s Disease with their Actiphage technology platform. The detection system is much quicker than standard tests and can be used directly on the farm giving a result within hours, rather than waiting days for laboratory analysis. Another advantage is the test is minimally invasive, simply testing cattle blood or milk samples. This test could be vital for the containment of a potential outbreak of bacteria within a herd, benefitting all concerned.
It is thought that badgers can spread bovine TB
It is thought that badgers can spread bovine TB, so isolating cases, could not only save badgers, but also money. For example one English county spent over £800,000 on badger culling. Not only wasteful, but cruel. In the 12 months to March 2018 numbers of farm animals slaughtered due to TB incidence rose 13%. This reached a total cull of nearly 34,000 cattle. Farmers report it costs £2-2,500 to test cattle for TB in labour alone. Cattle, once a case of TB is found, must be tested every 60 days, until two tests give clear results. This can add up in costs rapidly, putting huge strain on farmers livelihoods and business.
The investment of £125,000 is part of a larger £400,000 investment into the company by New Anglia Capital. This investment will help PBD Biotech take their products to markets abroad for further commercialisation of their products. This will also allow PBD Biotech to carry out additional field-testing to validate the products further. So far, news from field testing has been very positive. One example includes where the testing for TB with Actiphage technology was trialled in Devon on cattle. Within 12 months the Devon-farm tested was cleared from all trace of TB. Excellent news for the farm which previously had many cases of TB which were difficult to contain and control.
PBD Biotech was only launched just 15 months ago and has ventured out to Canada already to explore new opportunities as part of an innovation mission supported by Innovate UK. The technology has already been approved for testing by the UK Government on cattle infected with TB, with talks to test further herds of cattle in France, Canada, USA and more. This backing and investment has accelerated PBD Biotech 6 months ahead on their business timeline. This puts the young company in an excellent and exciting position to continue to grow and develop.
Read more about opportunities on Biosensors and Diagnostics in the GioBio report here