November 27, 2014 |
Safer chicken, coming right up Each year, millions of North Americans fall ill after eating chicken, thanks to Campylobacter. The corkscrew-shaped bacteria infects more than half the raw poultry sold in the U.S., making it one of the biggest causes of foodborne illness in the Western world.
To tackle the problem, AbCelex’s Dr. Saeid Babaei turned to the camel families. These desert creatures have a unique type of antibody that is small, stable and cheap to produce. Babaei and his partner, Dr. Ali Riazi, set to work creating fragments of these antibodies — so-called “nanobodies” — targeted at Campylobacter.
They knew any cost-effective livestock treatment must be delivered in feed. In the course of the last three years, the pair successfully engineered nanobodies that can withstand the high temperatures used to process animal feed and the low pH and enzymes in the chicken’s digestive system.
That’s when they turned to Bioenterprise. We connected them to industry players, conducted market analyses, and put together product costings. “Bioenterprise came to the rescue,” says Babaei. “It was perfect timing.”
As a result, AbCelex struck a $2 million venture capital deal and attracted high-profile partners. If field trials prove successful, safer chicken could be just around the corner.