Aquaculture for all

Successful $6.2 million series A funding for Peptobiotics

Disease Bacterial diseases Welfare +7 more

Peptobiotics - a startup aiming to replace the commercial use of antibiotics in aquaculture with antimicrobial peptide technology - has raised $6.2 million as part of its series A funding round.

A salmon farm.
Peptobiotics' technology provides an alternative to antibiotics, which can pose a risk to animal and human health when overused

Peptobiotics, the biotechnology company aiming to eliminate the need for antibiotics the aquaculture industry, has announced the successful completion of its series A funding round, which raised a significant $6.2 million in funds.

Following the funding round, which was led by Hatch's Blue Revolution Fund, the startup aims to commercialise its innovative recombinant antimicrobial peptide technology.

The treatment could be used in lieu of antibiotics, which are commonly overused in the aquaculture and wider animal agriculture industries. Such usage of antibiotics provides the stimulus for the evolution of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria, which can pose a serious threat to both animal and human health.

The recombinant antimicrobial peptide technology offered by Peptobiotics exploits the antibacterial properties of specialised proteins occurring naturally in the immune systems of many organisms. These proteins have been shown to be as effective at fighting bacterial infections as traditional antibiotics, but are widely considered to pose fewer risks in the form of side effects and antimicrobial resistance.

“Compared to the rest of agriculture, aquaculture has some of the most acute problems with disease, and correspondingly sees farmers having to resort to some of the worst antibiotic abuse. So for our technology, this is an ideal use case. We get a lot of urgency from the farmers who are interested in new non-antibiotic solutions,” said Peptobiotics chief executive Jonathan Bester, in an interview with AgTechNavigator.

Bester emphasises the difference in Peptobiotics' approach to developing the technology, specifically designing the platform for use by the aquaculture industry rather than merely adapting something made for a different area of animal agriculture.

“Traditionally animal health and feed additive companies treat aquaculture as a second thought to be pursued for extra revenue after they have built the product in livestock,” he said.

“We are coming at this authentically with something designed to address [the aquaculture industry's] specific disease problems,” Bester added.

Whilst the timeline for the commercialisation of Peptobiotics' innovative technology remains unclear, it is hoped that the successful series A funding round will contribute to the firm establishment of the startup, and its technology, in the aquaculture solutions sector, providing farmers with alternative treatments at a competitive price.

“One of the challenges we saw other novel agriculture biological companies having is that it can be difficult to get the production costs low enough,” explained Bester.

Peptobiotics chief technology officer Koh Jhee Hong added: “Our breakthrough was screening through the 1000s of peptides to find the ones that could have real efficacy in agriculture, then figuring out the biotechnology innovations needed to produce them on an industrial scale at a price point acceptable to our customers.”

*Peptobiotics is part of Hatch's investment portfolio, but The Fish Site retains editorial independence

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