The SmithsonHill team were pleased to see local AgriTech company PBD Biotech in Business Weekly, featured as an entrant in the Business Weekly Awards, for which submissions close on 30th November 2018.

PBD Biotech was established in 2016 by Dr Berwyn Clarke BSc, PhD, Chief Executive Officer and co-founders Drs Cath Rees and Ben Swift, which has developed Actiphage, a novel diagnostic for the rapid detection of live mycobacterial diseases. Originally a biochemist with a PhD in Medical Genetics, Berwyn is a specialist in personalised medicine, companion diagnostics and the application of novel diagnostics both to central laboratory and point-of-care utilities. He has worked in senior and board-level roles in the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industry for over 30 years.  In the two years since launch, PBD Biotech and has gained funding, UK government approval, proven efficacy in the field, opened an office in Canada and started international trials.

We caught up with PBD Biotech’s CEO, Dr Berwyn Clarke, who explained a bit more about their technology:

“Our Actiphage test is built on a unique phage-based technology that can rapidly detect live mycobacteria in blood or milk. Mycobacterial diseases, such as bovine TB and Johne’s disease, are disastrous for the farmers, communities and countries affected. In monetary terms, in the UK alone, dealing with bovine TB costs the taxpayer an estimated £100 million a year.

“This is why there is an enormous need for more direct and accurate testing methods. Actiphage has that potential – to transform the management of livestock diseases, as well as application in dairy quality assurance – which is why we’ve submitted an entry for Business Weekly’s Disruptive Technology award.

“We’ve come a long way in the past two years: launching at REAP 2016, we’ve gained funding, UK government approval, proven efficacy in field trials and opened an office in Canada yet none of this would have been possible without the spring-board and support provided by Agri-Tech East and local investment.

“We feel fortunate to be a start-up in East Anglia, with its business opportunities and emerging agri-tech, so we’d encourage other companies to put themselves forward for awards and help add to the noise about the achievements taking place in our region.”

Previously, no AgriTech company has made the final shortlist of the Business Weekly Awards, let alone lifted one of the category trophies but Business Weekly says it regards PBD Biotech as a standard-bearer for the exciting new generation of innovative AgriTech businesses that the East of England is now producing in good numbers. We think it is great to see AgriTech cluster companies starting to make some noise on a wider scale in Cambridge and placing themselves alongside technology disruptors. We’ll be watching the outcome of the awards with great interest.

If you would like to find out more about how AgriTech is helping to deliver the UK Industrial Strategy – have a look at our report here.