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SwineTech wins Investment Forum’s Innovation Award

The Iowa company and 10 other start-ups draw the attention of industry experts and investors at the annual KC Animal Health Corridor event.

SwineTech wins Investment Forum’s Innovation Award
SwineTech CEO Matthew Rooda, center, accepts the $10,000 prize at the 2019 Investment Forum.

SwineTech Inc. thinks it can stop sows from crushing their piglets, a problem that CEO Matthew Rooda said occurs more than 100 million times a year.

The technology, SmartGuard, and Rooda’s presentation earned SwineTech the $10,000 Innovation Award at the KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum. The annual event puts emerging companies like SwineTech onstage in front of hundreds of animal health experts and potential investors.

Executives from 11 companies pitched their products and ideas Aug. 27 in Kansas City, Missouri, during a “Shark Tank”-like competition. Among previous winners of the Innovation Award are FitBark, Prommune and Jaguar Animal Health.

Here is a look at the 11 presenting companies.

SwineTech Inc. (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

  • Product: SmartGuard, which detects when a piglet is in danger of being crushed and then transmits a signal to a wearable device on the sow, alerting the mother to stand. The technology also tracks real-time health and behavior metrics.
  • Funding to date: $2.8 million
  • Presenter: CEO and President Matthew Rooda
  • Quote: “In field trials, we’ve seen up to a 66% reduction in piglet crushing in the first three days. And in Kansas State University behavioral trials, we validated this technology as not only safe and effective but essential in delivering the quality of life necessary for the sow and her piglets.”

Assure Pet Health Inc. (Sudbury, Massachusetts)

  • Product: P3S, a patented therapeutic material and delivery mechanism for the treatment of plaque, gingivitis and halitosis in dogs.
  • Funding to date: $350,000
  • Presenter: President James Richards, Ph.D.
  • Quote: “We use molecular iodine [to provide] an oral antiseptic as the dog drinks, vastly improving compliance to oral care.”

Automed LLC (Huxley, Iowa)

  • Product: A livestock medication-delivery system that automatically calculates, delivers and records individual treatments.
  • Funding to date: $2.18 million
  • Presenter: CEO David Edwards, MBA
  • Quote: “In the adoption of Automed into the market, we found with our swine customers [that] they were seeing up to a 50% reduction in administration time when dosing live batches of animals. This was down to two simple things: ergonomics and ease of use.”

Cornerstone Animal Health (Denton, Texas)

  • Product: A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory formulated to provide relief for five to seven days after injection.
  • Funding to date: $1.5 million
  • Presenter: CEO Vince Palasota, MBA
  • Quote: “Veterinarians are hungry for long-acting products … that can put the needle back in their hand. … We’re looking for strategic partners that are interested in licensing particular products, particular categories or particular geographical territories.”

Equine Smartbit (Clayton, Missouri)

  • Product: Horse bit equipped with biometrics and associated software to enable real-time monitoring of equine vital signs for optimal performance and well-being.
  • Funding to date: $350,000
  • Presenter: Chief operating officer Shower Zhang, MBA
  • Quote: “For veterinarians … now you have remote access to the horse’s health. That will reduce the cost to the owner as well. At the same time, the owner will have a continual database to monitor the horse’s health [and] protect their investment.”

Koglo Ltd. (Tel Aviv, Israel)

  • Product: EZXS, a device designed for in-home fluid therapy.
  • Funding to date: $100,000
  • Presenter: CEO Yotam Kaufman
  • Quote: “The most important thing, it eliminates needle phobia completely, as the needle is invisible throughout the whole process. You can dispose the cartridge in any standard home bin instead of a biohazard bin.”

MesaGreen Pharmaceutical Co. (Frederick, Maryland)

  • Product: Auto-injection of midazolam for the in-home treatment of epileptic seizures in dogs.
  • Funding to date: $200,000
  • Presenter: Chief operating officer Tim Warneke, MS
  • Quote: “Seventy-six percent of veterinarians responded in our survey that they would likely prescribe this product. Seventy percent of the pet owners that we surveyed said that they would be likely to ask their veterinarian for the product.”

MyX Therapeutics Inc. (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

  • Product: MyX-001, a muco-adhesive nanoparticle platform for the slow release of medications in the veterinary and aquaculture markets.
  • Funding to date: $1.3 million
  • Presenter: President and CEO Greg White, MS
  • Quote: “We’re looking for potential investors, partners, that think outside of the box. … We’re looking at seeking partners for licensing out. … We’re looking at joint venture co-development.”

PetMedix Ltd. (Great Abington, Cambridgeshire, England)

  • Product: A monoclonal antibody platform for use in companion animal medicine.
  • Funding to date: $9.6 million
  • Presenter: CEO Tom Weaver, Ph.D.
  • Quote: “We’re going to increase the value of our company for our shareholders two ways. First, we’re building a … transgenic mouse platform that generates therapeutic-quality antibodies that are 100% specific to their species. And we’re going to rapidly then deploy this platform to develop new and innovative drugs.”

Resilient Biotics (Durham, North Carolina)

  • Product: Live biotherapeutics delivered intranasally to decrease or replace antibiotics for the management of bovine respiratory disease.
  • Funding to date: $2.65 million
  • Presenter: CEO Chris Belnap, Ph.D.
  • Quote: “We have what we think is the largest respiratory microbiome database in the world, which is applicable to not just BRD but also other animal systems and potentially beyond.”

Vmartec LLC (Kensington, California)

  • Product: A platform to enhance the profitability of veterinary clinics through practice management software and a training program.
  • Funding to date: $2 million
  • Presenter: CEO Steve Kornfeld, DVM, CPCC
  • Quote: “Our software can even tell our members how successful each and every doctor in the practice is at getting clients to say yes to a particular service. … We are veterinarians. … We know what kind of words motivate clients to take action.”

Ken Niedziela is editor of Today’s Veterinary Business. Email him at [email protected].