We are happy to extend a warm “EmerGence welcome” to our newest client, AbCelex Technologies Inc., from Mississauga, Ontario. Welcome to Canada’s bioscience incubation program!
Founded in 2010, AbCelex Technologies is a privately-held Canadian biotechnology company focused on developing leading-edge innovations and capabilities to address some of the world’s major food animal health and food safety challenges. The company is committed to the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative solutions to advance the health of food animals and human food safety
AbCelex uses an antibody-based approach to control pathogens in farm animals related to food-borne illnesses.
“Administering antibiotics to animals reduces food-borne pathogens that can cause illness,” says President & CEO, Saeid Babaei. “But it also contributes to the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.”
Dr. Babaei has over 20 years of academic and corporate experience in the biotechnology sector. Prior to AbCelex, he was the VP of business development at Lorus Therapeutics (now Aptose Biosciences), where he was responsible for product and technology licensing, strategic planning, and investor relations. During his tenure at Lorus, Dr. Babaei was central to the creation and management of the internal portfolio review and prioritization processes.
Babaei and his co-founder Dr. Ali Riazi – both molecular biologists with a string of degrees – founded AbCelex in 2010 with the aim to modify a specific type of antibody found in the guts of camels to create an antibiotic-free additive for agricultural feed products or water capable of guarding against dangerous bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella.
The pair’s research focused on ensuring their anti-microbial additive could withstand the heat generated during feed production, as well as the digestion process in a feed animal’s gut. And it had to be cost-effective. Says Babaei: “People won’t buy a chicken in the grocery store if the cost goes up from $7 to $20.”
In 2014, AbCelex got a vote of confidence in the form of a $2-million in Series A financing from Cultivian Sandbox, a leading U.S. venture fund specializing in agriculture and food. The company is currently engaged in field trials and expects its feed additive to be on the market by 2019. “And that’s a conservative estimate,” says Babaei.
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.
In 2014, AbCelex also received the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award for “Best Growth Company”. The award is designed to recognize a company that has made great strides in the technology and advanced manufacturing sector over the preceding year.
For further information, please click here! See also: “Canada’s Innovative Poultry Feed Products Help Solve Industry Issues“