Mastaplex, a startup based in Dunedin, has produced a diagnostic test kit to help farmers battle their most expensive animal health issue – bovine mastitis. A year ago, Mastaplex secured $637,000 from experienced early stage investors including the Governments Seed Co-Investment Fund (SCIF), Enterprise Angels members and wholesale investors on AngelEquity. The company has made good progress over the past year and are seeking further capital to take them to the next stage.
Bovine mastitis is a persistent, inflammatory reaction of cows’ udders often caused by bacterial infection. Infected cows are taken off production while being treated. Mastitis in dairy cows causes significant losses on every farm in New Zealand. On average, mastitis costs an 800 cow herd approximately $60,000 per year and the industry as a whole $280M.
As it is caused by a variety of pathogens, it can be hard to prescribe the correct antibiotic to cure it and in some cases no antibiotic is required.
Mastaplex not only detects an infection, it identifies the specific bacteria and can determine antibiotic sensitivity. This allows the cow to get the right treatment immediately. This simple method saves time and money for vets and farmers.
Founder, Dr Olaf Bork, was developing innovative products for treating bovine mastitis at the Bayer Centre for Animal Health, before patenting his own research and founding Mastaplex.
As his concept flourished, Olaf received a wide range of support, including an external mentor for business guidance and a tenancy at the University of Otago’s Centre for Innovation. This tenancy provides him access to infrastructure, facilities and other researchers.
The Mastaplex Board is Chaired by Colin Harvey. Colin is well known in the New Zealand agricultural industry as the CEO and founder of Ancare. The trading assets of Ancare were sold to Merial in 2007. In 2014 Merial acquired the remaining R&D assets of Ancare which had been operated by Colin as a separate development company.
In August 2015, Mastaplex successfully gained its first investment from Tauranga technology incubator, WNT Ventures. Enterprise Angels lead the 2017 capital raising round and are now backing Mastaplex a second time. SCIF are also providing strong follow-on investment in Mastaplex.
“We’re really excited to be working with Mastaplex for its second capital raise. The company has a solid track record for achieving milestones. We were particularly pleased to hear that the company has signed a term sheet with a large animal health company. This company could provide worldwide distribution” says Nina Le Lievre, Manager of Enterprise Angels.
Mastaplex is accepting investment commitments on AngelEquity.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has since been updated for accuracy.