Tuesday, July 5, 2022
BusinessFunding & fresh faces from Scottish biotech firm favours farming industry

Funding & fresh faces from Scottish biotech firm favours farming industry

A SCOTTISH biotech company are hoping £2.2m of new funding and fresh senior management appointments can save millions of pounds in the farming industry. 

The intended acceleration of Biontangents’ new rapid disease detection technology can quickly identify an illness that costs farmers around the world up to £23bn a year. 

Capable of detecting a wide range of diseases, its ability to spot Mastitis in just a few hours, as opposed to several days, could act as a big boost to agriculture. 

£1.6m of the funding comes from the UK Government’s Innovate UK loans programme, set up in 2018 to aid business-led innovation. 

John McNicol of Kelvin Capital and Biotangents CEO Fiona McIntosh hope their companies can save cattle farmers cash.

Scotland-based Investment syndicate Kelvin Capital have injected the remaining £600,000, with involvement too from Scottish Enterprise. 

It marks Kelvin Capital’s third investment into Biotangents, after securing £1.2m in 2021 following an initial £1.5m in 2019. 

John McNicol, director of Kelvin Capital, said: “We have supported Biotangents since 2017 and are delighted to continue that and welcome the strengthening of the existing operational team and the company’s Board.  

“This disruptive technology will bring additional benefits to the global dairy sector and wider AgriTech sector because rapid diagnostic technology brings financial benefits to farmers and dramatically improves animal welfare.”

Mastitis can wreak havoc in farming regions across the globe, costing the average dairy farm in the UK anywhere between £7000 and £25,000 per year. 

Biotangents’ Isothermal technology can also rapidly detect Bovine Viral Diarrohea (BVD), which is responsible for £61m of losses each year in the UK alone. 

Founded in 2015, the firm has shaken up their board room in a bid to further shake up the agricultural scene.

Incoming CEO Fiona McIntosh has over 15 years’ experience in the diagnostics game, working for SMEs and international groups such as Alere and BBI Solutions. 

McIntosh said: “The platform will provide accurate diagnosis between milking, allowing the vet and farmer to quickly determine the most appropriate treatment for each individual cow, including specific antibiotic treatment.

Kelvin Capital have invested in Biotangents on three separate occasions.

“We recognise the positive impact this will have on antimicrobial resistance, ultimately reducing antibiotic usage.”

Ross McDermid has also been appointed Director of Commercialisation, while Professor Richard Hammond has joined the board as a non-executive director. 

With the pandemic increasing interest in healthcare technology and climate awareness has intensified the search for greener options, life sciences are currently riding a wave in Scotland.

Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment at Scottish Enterprise said: “Scotland is globally renowned for its strengths in life sciences, owing that reputation in part to innovative biotechnology businesses such as Biotangents.

“Working alongside companies in this sector to progress ground-breaking diagnostics technology, and in turn investing in Scotland’s wider rural economy, is a priority for Scottish Enterprise. “

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