Investing in Mazen Animal Health

Posted on 08/24/2022 at 10:52 AM by Duane Harris

This is part of a series where we explore the innovation behind our portfolio companies and the defining reasons we offered investments.

Record high prices at the grocery stores and supply chain disruptions have made it more important than ever to protect the food supply. Along with population growth and rising demand for protein, sustainable and humane animal production is a critical component of our food supply. Particularly in the Midwest, livestock production is a massive industry – in Next Level Venture’s home state of Iowa, hog and cattle production amounted to $10.2 billion in 2020.

Vaccination of livestock is critical in preventing disease and decreasing animal loss. Standard vaccination procedures, particularly injectable vaccines, are costly and difficult to administer. With growing labor shortages, and shifting biosecurity risks, injectable vaccines are also becoming more hazardous for workers to dispense.

Mazen Animal Health has created transformative vaccine technology with an oral vaccine. Administered through feed, animals aren’t even aware of the vaccination process, unlike the sometimes traumatizing and hazardous method of giving animal vaccination shots.

By administering a vaccine with feed, not only are labor challenges eliminated, the animal’s lives are not disrupted. Distributing the oral vaccine through corn is beneficial for many reasons –corn is already a common part of livestock diet, the dosing corresponds with current feed mill and producer systems, and the animal is treated more humanely.

“Mazen has revolutionized the animal vaccine industry – creating safe and effective oral vaccines not just for livestock but for pets as well,” said Duane Harris, Partner at Next Level Ventures. “As we navigate new technology advancements in agriculture and in vaccines, one thing is certain – the safety and quality of life for the people and animals in the industry is vital, and Mazen has provided a cost-effective way to ensure it.”

Mazen’s oral vaccine technology leverages years of research and development led by John Howard, Mazen Co-Founder and world-leading expert in recombinant protein (commonly used in pharmaceuticals) production in plants. Mazen, which is produced by recombinant protein in corn, is substantially more cost-effective and convenient than traditional vaccine methods.

As vaccine technology continues to advance, Mazen Animal Health works to disrupt the status quo and address complex challenges in animal health and protein production. This first disruptive solution of oral vaccination methods is just a first step in reinventing disease prevention and animal health.