Notts biotech firm raises £2.3m for bovine TB test 

cow in field

A University of Nottingham spin-off which has developed a rapid test for tuberculosis in livestock has secured a £2.3 million investment to help bring its product to market.

The funding for PBD Biotech has come from a consortium led by fund managers Mercia and the Foresight Group, through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) as well as the University of Nottingham,  the government’s Future Fund and private investors including farmers and veterinary practices.

With this funding we will be able to perform the validation studies required for regulatory approval

It will allow the company to take its Actiphage test through to validation by the World Organisation for Animal Health which will enable it to be adopted internationally.

Bovine TB is a major problem in terms of animal welfare, resulting in the slaughter of over 300,000 cattle in Great Britain in the past decade and costing the UK taxpayer £500m. The disease can spread to other animals including badgers and is thought to cause both TB and Crohn’s disease in humans.

Actiphage recently won the British Veterinary Association Innovation Award 2021 and was described as ‘having the potential to be a game changer in tackling bovine TB’. There is also potential for the test to be adapted for use in humans. PBD Biotech is based at the University of Nottingham with an office in Thurston, Suffolk. The company currently employs six people and expects to create more than 10 new jobs over the next three years.

Mark Hammond, CEO of PBD Biotech, said: “It has been shown on-farm that when Actiphage is used within a disease management strategy it is possible to eliminate bovine TB from a herd and maintain a disease-free status.

“There is a significant international un-met need for a rapid test like Actiphage. With this funding we will be able to perform the validation studies required for regulatory approval and drive commercialisation of the technology.”

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