Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Advanced Animal Diagnostics raises $11M in Series B Financing

Advanced Animal Diagnostics, a developer of technologies for the rapid diagnosis of farm animal diseases, announced Wednesday that it has closed an $11 million Series B round of equity financing. This investment in AAD represents the largest single investment in research and development to diagnose mastitis, the costliest disease for dairy producers worldwide. The financing was led by Intersouth Partners and included Novartis Venture Funds as well as other private investors.

AAD is a research and development company dedicated to bringing accurate, rapid animal diagnostic tests to the farm. The company’s first on-farm product will focus on improving milk production and quality by controlling mastitis, an infection of the milk-producing gland. Future products will monitor disease states, reproductive, nutritional and overall health status of production animals. The QuickSmear rapid differential slide for researchers was the first product commercialized by AAD in 2009.

“With this investment, AAD will be able to bring to market a new generation of diagnostics technologies that will revolutionize the way farmers approach animal health, allowing them to detect and diagnose diseases in their animals more quickly and efficiently than ever before,” said Joy Parr Drach, president and CEO of AAD. “We appreciate that our investors recognize the opportunity of investments in agriculture. By bringing our innovative technologies to market, they are supporting the efforts of AAD and agriculture to deliver a safe, affordable and abundant supply of protein.”

The company expects this financing to support hiring for key positions, production and manufacturing, and on-farm economic trials of its first product line. The firm is currently seeking cooperators for those on-farm trials.

“Food producers are under increasing pressure. The value in AAD’s strong platform of technologies can help them improve animal health and profitability,” said Jimmy Rosen, partner at Intersouth Partners. “We’re excited to support this company and its technology.”

Dr. Simon Wheeler, managing director at Novartis Venture Fund, added, “Novartis Venture Fund is confident that with its new technology, AAD will bring significant benefits to the dairy industry and enhance food production worldwide. The investment meets the aim of our fund to provide innovative patient benefit and supports Novartis’s mission to save, prolong and improve animal lives.”

AAD technology represents a significant advance for control of mastitis because it allows early identification of infected quarters, or glands, immediately after calving, when the highest incidence of mastitis occurs. With AAD’s highly accurate, rapid on-farm test that works on colostrum, infected cows can be treated immediately and clear the withdrawal period before they’re turned into the milking herd. Early treatment ensures that cows start the lactation cycle healthy, minimizes long-term gland damage that reduces milk production and eliminates the high cost of discarded milk and treatment during lactation.

AAD was founded in 2001 and started with a USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant. It received funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center including a Collaborative Funding Grant for research at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Advanced Animal Diagnostics previously raised a $1.1 million Series A round of funding from private investors.