RALEIGH – Startup Applied LifeSciences & Systems, which is developing imaging systems for the screening of animals and vaccine delivery solutions for the poultry industry, not only landed new capital but health giant Merck as an investor.

The Raleigh firm has closed on $8 million in capital, the round being co-led by Merck Animal Health and Mountain Group Partners.

Applied LifeSciences

Oval Park Capital in Raleigh, which focuses on early-stage investments, joined the round.

Backed early on by the National Science Foundation, the company received a $65,000 matching grant from the state of North Carolina.

ALSS says the new funds will be used to “accelerate” the development of proprietary technology for poultry vaccination.

“At ALSS, we are focused on development of new and unique technologies to rapidly and individually vaccinate animals, ensuring the best protection against some of the most harmful diseases impacting the protein production industry today. We expect our systems to have a major impact on improving the industry’s productivity, profitability and sustainability,” explained Ramin Karimpour, the founder of ALSS and its CEO. “We are highly excited that Merck Animal Health, a leader in the animal health market, and MGP, one of the top investors in Life Sciences and AgTech, have expressed their confidence in our team and mission by their investment in ALSS.”

According to Karimpour, his firm’s technology meets a growing need.

“Poultry producers are losing up to $11 billion globally due to controllable diseases such as coccidiosis,” he said in an interview with the CED before his firm was featured at an investment event.

“Our individual high-throughput chick vaccination and health screen system utilizing a marriage of high-speed Robotics, Imaging, Feature Recognition and Micro-Fluidics can revolutionize large scale poultry production and save producers and public billions of dollars.”

The company says its system incorporates artificial intelligence as part of a process that can “vaccinate up to 100,000 chicks per hour.”

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There are no current alternatives to our Individual Vaccination System beyond mass or manual vaccination (lacking scalability, accuracy, and cost efficiency),” Karimpour says.

“We have deep relationships with and support from leaders of poultry industry and Merck Animal Health (MAH) as our strategic partner. At only 30% Market Penetration, we will save the industry over $3 billion/year and become a major enabler of its sustainability in Antibiotic-Free/Drug-Free Environment as we generate considerable returns for our investors.

Merck already was a partner in working with ALSS.

“Merck Animal Health seeks to identify and invest in companies with early-stage technologies, devices and solutions with the potential to augment and complement our own portfolio of vaccines and pharmaceutical products to improve animal health, welfare and performance,” said Stephen Murray, the head of the Merck Animal Health Ventures team, in the announcement.

“Leveraging Merck Animal Health’s knowledge of poultry vaccination processes, our investment with ALSS will enable the development of its innovative technology that has the potential to significantly increase vaccination rates and enhance poultry production for our customers.”