RALEIGH … Biotechnology startup BioResource International has hired its first chief executive and secured almost $1.5 million in venture financing to develop its animal feed products.

Keith Stoneback, who formerly headed a medical device company in Philadelphia, has assumed the roles of president and CEO at BRI, which is based on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. He had been a member of BRI’s advisory board since last fall and was asked to take charge of the company last month.

“The founders of the company are technical people and don’t want to be involved with the daily concerns of running a company,” Stoneback tells LocalTechWire.

BRI was founded in 1999 by Giles Shih, a microbiologist, using a discovery made by his father, Jason Shih, a biotechnology and poultry science professor at N.C. State.

The company also has closed on some private funding, including about $1 million from a Chinese venture firm and another $500,000 from individual angel investors from around the United States, Stoneback says. The money will be used for marketing and further development of BRI’s enzyme product that is used to improve poultry feed and to break down the protein associated with mad-cow disease.

The company initially signed an investment, research and marketing agreement with a delegation of Chinese officials that visited Centennial Campus in February.

BRI website: www.briworldwide.com