Novus acquires Agrivida, looks to develop new feed additives

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Maks_Lab
© GettyImages/Maks_Lab

Related tags Novus functional proteins

Novus International has acquired biotech company Agrivida Inc. The deal gives the US animal health and nutrition company ownership of Agrivida's INTERIUS technology, which is designed to embed feed additives inside grain.

The acquisition includes Agrivida’s operations in Massachusetts and Nebraska; all its personnel, including founders R Michael Raab and Jeremy Schley‐Johnson, will join Novus.

The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The acquisition comes two years after Novus, which is a privately owned feed additive company, began a commercial partnership with Agrivida to support the sale of the start‐up’s flagship product, GRAINZYME.

“Since December 2020, we’ve taken the time to understand and explore what INTERIUS technology is capable of,” ​said Novus CEO, Dan Meagher. “With this technology we believe we can revolutionize the feed additive industry through the expression of highvalue, functional proteins inside grain, providing new products that are sustainable, both environmentally and operationally.” 

Agrivida was founded in 2003 by scientists from MIT, experts in biochemistry, plant biology, molecular biology, agriculture, and nutrition. They discovered a way to incorporate feed additives directly into corn.

By having additives inside the grain, the molecules are more efficiently absorbed by the animal, allowing producers to improve both performance and their return on investment, said the producers.

Antibodies embedded in grain

Novus outlined how its R&D team and Agrivida scientists are currently working on pathways to address producer pains through this sustainable, disruptive technology.

While the category of functional proteins includes enzymes, which Agrivida has already accomplished through GRAINZYME, the company said its innovation team is expanding the product offerings to include antibodies embedded in grain.

“Singledomain antibodies present an opportunity to naturally address the health challenges producers face in antibioticreduced and antibioticfree production. These antibodies are a challenge to produce costeffectively and deliver to the animal in a sustainable way.

"The INTERIUS technology addresses these challenges by removing costly fermentation and coating processes as well as offers the potential to stack different antibodies and/or enzymes in a single corn product solution for the animal. Traditionally these efforts would require blended products, which would mean more processing and cost. The INTERIUS technology delivers this benefit in a single ingredient  corn,” ​explained Novus VP and chief innovation officer, Al Zimmerman.   

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