Michael Raab, president of Agrivida, said it sold Series D preferred stock to raise money to grow the company.
“The capital is being used to support regulatory and commercial development of our first two feed additive products under the GraINzyme umbrella - a corn phytase and a corn glucanase - as well as the future INergy silage technology platforms,” he said.
Raab told us the funding will serve to increase the number of feeding trials across a range of products targeting both ruminant and monogastric species.
The company’s GraINzyme additives are said to have a high level of enzyme activity after pelleting compared to fermented enzymes, and are used to degrade anti-nutritional feed components.
They are grown on limited acreage in a closed loop system, and the harvested grain is milled and supplied to animal producers as a feed additive.
Last year we reported on a tie-up between Agrivida and genetic engineering firm, Precision BioSciences, on a trait development project based on gene modifications to turn a low value product – corn stover – into a high-value component used in ruminant feed diets.
Corn stover – the leaves, husk, and cob of corn - is not used in significant quantities in animal feed. In the US, 80 to 100 million acres of corn are planted annually, generating an estimated 160 to 250 million dry tons of corn stover for further processing.
The goal of the partnership with Precision, said the company last March, was to ensure cost savings for livestock producers by ensuring they can get more milk per pound of feed.
“Through the combination of our expertise on plant metabolism and Precision’s technology, which has a high degree of specificity, we can boost the energy content of forage and improve its digestibility.
If you deliver more digestible forage, you get more essential nutrients into the cow’s diet, and thus improved animal health. You also get a higher milk yield,” said Raab.
He told us yesterday the project with Precision is making significant progress.
“We've selected lead commercial candidates that are into an introgressive hybridization process and will be field tested this year.
The increased starch accumulation in those materials has been maintained through several generations,” he said.
Raab told us previously that the US market is a priority, with fewer consumer concerns about GM crops in that geography compared to Europe.
“There is more certainty about the US market for us. We are a small company and we have to use our resources effectively. But we may look to Asia and South America later,” he said.