MORRISVILLE – The Morrisville-based biotechnology startup TARGAN, formerly known as Applied LifeSciences & Systems, has raised a Series C fundraising round of $35 million.

The funding will enable the company “to accelerate the commercialization of its automated and individualized poultry vaccination and gender identification systems,” according to a statement issued by the firm.

“From its conception, TARGAN’s purpose has been to address the growing global demand for a healthier, more sustainable food supply through the development and application of novel technologies,” said Ramin Karimpour, founder and CEO of TARGAN, in a statement.  “With this round, we will launch our targeted, individual vaccination and gender sorting technologies for poultry.”

According to the company, its technology system is currently developed for the commercial poultry industry and can “individually and accurately vaccinate up to 100,000 chicks per hour.”

Those vaccinations prevent against disease.  The company’s other technology system, which it says is fully automated, can determine the gender of each individual chick, which enables poultry producers to separate chicks by biological sex.

“Precise bird vaccination enables poultry producers to protect each bird from harmful diseases and significantly reduces the reliance on chemicals, therapeutics, and antibiotics,” said Karimpour.  “Additionally, automated gender identification will allow for separate sex rearing that reduces feed cost and waste while optimizing bird nutrition.”

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New investors, existing investors

Mountain Group Partners and NovaQuest Capital Management led the round, with participation from existing investors Merck Animal Health and Oval Park Capital, which is based in the Triangle.

According to Stephen Murray, lead of Merck Animal Health Ventures, the firm supported TARGAN “from the beginning of their journey.”

Merck Animal Health Ventures and Mountain Partners Group led the company’s Series A fundraising of $8 million in 2019, and Oval Park Capital participated in that round, as well.  The company went on to raise an additional $7 million in a Series B round in 2021 when the company was still known as Applied LifeSciences & Systems.

Rob Readnour, managing director at Mountain Group Partners, which co-led the round, noted in a statement that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a need to create and deliver technologies to “reduce labor and improve bird health,” adding that TARGAN is equipped to do this using its innovative technologies.

Readnour added that the participation of NovaQuest in the investor syndicate will assist TARGAN’s progress into “full commercialization” due to NovaQuest’s extensive biotechnology experience.

“We are pleased to continue supporting the TARGAN team as they accelerate commercialization in the global poultry industry and explore new applications of their precision animal health technology platform,” said Justin Wright-Eakes, managing partner at the Triangle-based venture capital firm Oval Park Capital.

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