World meat consumption is expected to double by 2050. The world’s growing population along with the popularity of animal protein is responsible for the growth in meat consumption. While the industry has improved efficiency, production processes, and veterinary care to meet this increasing demand, the recent demand for antibiotic-free protein, driven by consumers and regulatory changes, makes the achievement of this target challenging in the future.
When antibiotics are removed from the production process, animals not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated are susceptible to infections leading to sickness and death. The industry trend towards antibiotic-free production has led to producers’ demand for novel solutions to improve health standards and vaccination procedures allowing for a similar level of productivity in the absence of antibiotics and other chemicals.
Enter Applied LifeSciences & Systems (ALSS), a Morrisville, North Carolina-based biotech startup that is bringing advanced technology solutions to the poultry, aquaculture, and swine industries to address this growing demand. ALSS is focused on improving animal health and productivity in the poultry, livestock, and aquaculture industries.
Today, ALSS announced the initial close of a $7 million Series B equity financing to accelerate the commercialization of its automated and individualized poultry vaccination systems. The round was co-led by Merck Animal Health and Mountain Group Partners, with participation from Oval Park Capital, a Raleigh-based early-stage investment firm.
Founded in 2011 by Ramin Karimpour, ALSS integrates its proprietary technologies in high-speed imaging, feature recognition, artificial intelligence, robotics, and microfluidics in a system currently developed for the commercial poultry industry. This system can individually and accurately vaccinate up to 100,000 chicks per hour against diseases such as coccidiosis, infectious bronchitis, and Newcastle disease.
“At ALSS, we have developed a series of patented platform technologies to rapidly and accurately vaccinate individual animals. This will ensure the best protection against some of the most harmful diseases and significantly increase proactive vaccination to further prevent the spread of disease and reduce the use of antibiotics and chemicals in the protein production industries today,” said Ramin Karimpour, ALSS Founder and CEO.
Karimpour also added, “Our initial product line has successfully demonstrated targeting and vaccine delivery at the high speeds and accuracy needed to integrate and support improved bird performance within current commercial poultry operations,” said Ramin Karimpour, ALSS Founder and CEO. “We look forward to the successful commercialization and launch of our systems in 2022. We are highly excited to continue our partnership with Merck Animal Health, a leader in the global animal health industry, Mountain Group Partners, one of the top investors in Life Sciences and Animal Health industries, and Oval Park, a local early-stage investment firm.”
“We are delighted with the progress by the ALSS team,” said Stephen Murray, B.V.Sc., executive director, Merck Animal Health Ventures. “Merck Animal Health’s investments in early-stage technology have the potential to deliver meaningful innovation to our customers, which complements our own portfolio of medicines, vaccines, and technology services. Leveraging our knowledge of poultry vaccination alongside ALSS is enabling their breakthrough technology to significantly increase vaccination rates and enhance poultry production, management, and health outcomes.”
“We are very pleased with the progress that ALSS has made toward commercialization of its disruptive vaccine delivery technology. ALSS’ technology will significantly improve vaccination efficiency and provide a great tool to producers. We look forward to working with ALSS as they take this next step forward into commercialization” said Rob Readnour, Managing Director at Mountain Group Partners.
“The ALSS team has made tremendous progress developing their novel individual vaccine delivery system for the poultry industry,” said Justin Wright-Eakes, Managing Partner at Oval Park Capital. “We are delighted to continue supporting ALSS as it transitions into the commercialization and growth phases, and we’re excited to watch the transformative impact of ALSS’ technology on global protein production in the coming years.”