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Suffolk biotech start-up specialising in livestock disease tests celebrates Canadian expansion

PUBLISHED: 14:00 27 June 2018 | UPDATED: 16:39 27 June 2018

New Anglia LEP chief executive Chris Starkie and PBD Biotech chief executive Dr Berwyn Clarke at the Royal Norfolk Show Picture: SI BARBER

New Anglia LEP chief executive Chris Starkie and PBD Biotech chief executive Dr Berwyn Clarke at the Royal Norfolk Show Picture: SI BARBER

Si Barber

A Suffolk biotech start-up is set to expand after attracting international interest in its animal disease testing technology.

Blood testing using the Actiphage test Picture: PBD BIOTECHBlood testing using the Actiphage test Picture: PBD BIOTECH

PBD Biotech, based at Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, which has formulated tests for bovine TB and Johne’s Disease, is set to establish a Canadian subsidiary in Saskatoon just 12 months after launching.

The expansion has been made possible thanks to funding from New Anglia Capital, revealed at the Royal Norfolk Show on Wednesday (June 27).

PBD Biotech chief executive Dr Berwyn Clarke said: “This investment from New Anglia Capital, and other investors, has enabled us to take the next step in getting the Actiphage technology into international markets.

“It has accelerated the company’s timeline, meaning we’re about six months ahead of where we were expecting to be. We now have a number of commercial opportunities all over the world that are ready to go. For an early-stage company this is an exciting position to be in.”

Dr Berwyn Clarke, chief executive of PBD Biotech Picture: PBD BIOTECHDr Berwyn Clarke, chief executive of PBD Biotech Picture: PBD BIOTECH

New Anglia Capital is a co-investment fund managed by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in partnership with Anglia Capital Group which brings angel investors together to kick-start new products and innovative ideas, as well as supporting existing high growth companies.

New Anglia LEP chief executive Chris Starkie said: “Seed funding of this kind is vital for businesses to take innovative new ideas and turn them into something tangible – with job creation and economic growth the result. PBD Biotech is doing just that, and doing it within an industry sector that plays a key role in driving our economy forward.”

Earlier this month, the firm visited Canada as part of an innovation mission supported by Innovate UK. It was through the 2017 Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority’s (SREDA) Agriculture Technology Harvest Program that PBD Biotech first showcased its novel technology to progressive organisations in the region. The relationships formed have been so fruitful that the company has chosen the province for its base.

SREDA president and chief executive Alex Fallon said: “PBD Biotech’s expansion to Saskatchewan will position the company for success in the Canadian market and ensure we’re at the forefront of utilising innovative products in this key sector.”

Drs Cath Rees and Ben Swift, co-founders of PBD Biotech, who discovered the Actiphage technology Picture: PBD BIOTECHDrs Cath Rees and Ben Swift, co-founders of PBD Biotech, who discovered the Actiphage technology Picture: PBD BIOTECH

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