Here are mini-profiles of the 12 ag biotech firms presenting at the Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. on May 18:

3Bar Biologics (Ohio)

3Bar Biologics sells yield-increasing microbial inoculants to farmers of corn, soy, and wheat. These farmers are struggling to maintain profitability as input costs rise while grain prices fall. 3Bar Biologics solves that problem with a patent pending delivery system, which is activated on-farm to deliver the most viable biologic product in the world, resulting in a typical return on investment for the farmer of five times.

Agile Sciences (North Carolina)

Agile Sciences’ proprietary compounds work synergistically with antimicrobials to inhibit bacterial defense mechanisms via a novel mode of action. Field studies have shown Agile Sciences’ compounds enhance current crop treatment standards in protecting plants from a variety of bacterial infections. Agile Sciences is developing this technology to control devastating bacterial plant diseases.

APSE (Missouri)

APSE develops technology for the cost effective production of RNA for topical RNAi applications in broad acre agriculture. Topical RNA for RNAi is an exciting new non-GMO technology whose utilization is constrained by the cost, delivery, and stability of RNA. APSE technology addresses these constraints with innovative patented encapsidation/fermentation technology that is unique and scalable.

Aptimmune Biologics (Illinois)

Aptimmune Biologics develops, markets, and sells a portfolio of revolutionary mucosal vaccines; thereby saving pork producers hundreds of millions of dollars each year by controlling the most costly viral diseases impacting swine.

BENANOVA (North Carolina)

BENANOVA’s organic nanoparticles serve as carriers to better deliver bioactive agents. Today’s pest control treatments are not living up to their potential due to failure of effective delivery systems. These “Environmentally-benign Nanoparticles” (EbNPs) are loaded with actives and adhere to and better penetrate plant surfaces, resulting in 10 to 100 times higher bioactivity.

Cocoon Biotech (Massachusetts)

Cocoon Biotech leverages the natural properties of silk as a mechanical and drug delivery platform to treat osteoarthritis in the veterinary and human markets. Cocoon’s lead product is an intra-articular injection of silk loaded with a small molecule drug targeting pain to provide extended pain relief. Cocoon has completed seed financing, optimized the formulation, and demonstrated efficacy in an animal model.

EpiBiome (California)

EpiBiome is developing a cocktail of phages, bacteria-specific viruses, for the treatment of mastitis without the use of antibiotics. Bovine mastitis is an inflammation of the udder in dairy cattle, usually caused by bacterial infection. The disease results in $35 billion and $2 billion in losses to the global and US dairy industries, respectively. It is the number one reason antibiotics are given to cows.

Genoverde Biosciences (Massachusetts)

Genoverde Biosciences sells bioengineered loblolly pine seedlings with increased wood density to tree farmers. Farmers currently have a problem with low yields of high wood density trees. Genoverde Biosciences solves this problem by selling seedlings with 20% higher wood density over conventional crops. This translates into increased profits for farmers and reduced time to market with no added production costs.

Magnomics (Portugal)

Magnomics is a diagnostics startup that provides on-site tests for the detection of multiple pathogens and their respective antibiotic susceptibility in an accurate, affordable, fast and easy-to-use manner, in any sample. Magnomics’ first product, currently being prototyped, will be deployed in the animal health space and used for the detection of bovine mastitis in dairy cows.

Mazen Animal Health (Florida)

Mazen Animal Health is developing unique oral vaccines with an efficient, low cost system appropriate for livestock and production animals that simplifies dosing management, eliminates cold chain systems, and provides a solution to the increasing pressure on the world’s protein supply.

Mimetics (North Carolina)

Mimetics has identified a novel potential fungicide by using a bio-computation platform developed under DARPA funding to infer Gene Regulatory Networks from gene expression data. This candidate fungicide has already been approved by the FDA for other agricultural applications. Mimetics’ bio-computation tools are also being applied in biotech, pharmaceutical R&D, and food & beverage production.

Precision Biosciences (North Carolina)

Precision PlantSciences translates genome editing technology into greatly needed products for agriculture. The proprietary ARCUS platform creates non-GM crop varieties with low regulatory hurdles, short timelines and high levels of consumer acceptance. Precision PlantSciences offers a complete package of plant genomic and cell biology capabilities serving diverse markets in food and agriculture.

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(C) North Carolina Biotechnology Center