Novus Acquires Biotech Company Agrivida to Develop New Feed Additives
SAINT CHARLES, MO (January 10, 2023) – Global animal health and nutrition company Novus International, Inc., today announced its acquisition of biotech company Agrivida Inc. Through the purchase, Novus takes ownership of the proprietary INTERIUS™ technology Agrivida developed to embed feed additives inside grain.
This move by Novus comes two years after it began a commercial partnership with Agrivida to support the sale of the start-up’s flagship product, GRAINZYME®.
“Since December 2020, we’ve taken the time to understand and explore what INTERIUS™ technology is capable of,” says Novus President and CEO Dan Meagher. “With this technology we believe we can revolutionize the feed additive industry through the expression of high-value, functional proteins inside grain, providing new products that are sustainable, both environmentally and operationally.”
While the category of functional proteins includes enzymes, which Agrivida has already accomplished through GRAINZYME®, the Novus Innovation team is expanding the product offerings to include antibodies embedded in grain.
“Single-domain antibodies present an opportunity to naturally address the health challenges producers face in antibiotic-reduced and antibiotic-free production. These antibodies are a challenge to produce cost-effectively and deliver to the animal in a sustainable way,” says Novus Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Al Zimmerman. “INTERIUS™ technology addresses these challenges by removing costly fermentation and coating processes as well as offers the potential to stack different antibodies and/or enzymes in a single corn product solution for the animal. Traditionally these efforts would require blended products, which would mean more processing and cost. The INTERIUS™ technology delivers this benefit in a single ingredient – corn.”
Instead of manufacturing feed additives by fermentation, INTERIUS™ technology tells the grain how to make the additive directly in the grain. The grain is grown, harvested and ground, and fed to the animal like any other corn in diet. Zimmerman says by having the additive inside the grain, the molecules are more efficiently absorbed by the animal, allowing producers to improve both performance and their return on investment.
The acquisition includes Agrivida, Inc., and its operations in Massachusetts and Nebraska. The Agrivida team, including founders R. Michael Raab and Jeremy Schley-Johnson, will join Novus bringing with them their innovative approach to developing functional proteins.
Raab, who is also Agrivida’s chief technology officer, says he’s excited about the opportunities to come.
“Joining Novus will accelerate the deployment of new animal health and nutrition solutions through the INTERIUS™ platform. As Agrivida alone, our bandwidth to develop and commercialize products was limited by our resources and global expertise. As part of Novus, we can now bring multiple products to market and attain a global reach to deliver new, technology-based solutions faster than before.”
Novus did not disclose the financial specifics of the acquisition.
Meagher says the Novus Research and Development team and Agrivida scientists are currently working on exciting pathways to address producer pains through this sustainable, disruptive technology.
Novus International is a privately owned feed additive company founded in 1991 in a joint venture between Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., and Nippon Soda Co., Ltd. Novus health and nutrition solutions include MINTREX® bis-chelated trace minerals, ACTIVATE® nutritional feed acid, NEXT ENHANCE® feed additives, CIBENZA® feed additives, and methionine products ALIMET® feed supplement, MHA® feed supplement and MFP® feed supplement.