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2022

FOLIUM Science CEO Ed Fuchs presents at Agri-TechE REAP Conference

Agri-TechE’s REAP conference took place on November 8th 2022 to review how the meeting of real and virtual worlds is creating a new generation of technologies that are ‘making sense of agriculture’ and that can provide the intelligence needed to take the best action on-farm. Every year Agri-Tech E handpicks some of the most exciting early-stage agri-tech companies to take part in the REAP Start-up Showcase.

This year’s Start-up Showcase included FOLIUM Science’s carve out investment opportunity FLOURISH, a new type of crop protection and seed treatment that will improve yields and boost productivity.

FLOURISH makes ‘bad’ bacteria self-destruct to create a healthy microbiome

Bacterial crop diseases cause devasting losses. Some are controlled by antibiotics, which results in damage to beneficial organisms in the microbiome and the risk of resistance. FLOURISH offers an alternative plant protection strategy. By disrupting the metabolism of the pathogen, it enables natural competition to create a healthy growing environment, which boosts yield.

Ed Fuchs is a Co-founder of FLOURISH, a carve-out from FOLIUM Science, which has developed a Guided Biotics® technology for animal health and now has a number of product candidates ready for commercialisation via multinational feed additives distributors, following successful safety assessments by regulators.

Ed comments: “Plants extract nutrition from their environment using complex interactions with microorganisms in the soil. The importance of this microbiome is increasingly recognised in human and animal health.

“Our technology uses either bacteria or phages (virus particles) that are highly selective for a particular type of bacteria, such as Pseudomonas, to share a specific DNA sequence with the target that redirects its immune system, causing the pathogen to self-destruct. As the sequence is very specific and targeted to the particular bacteria it will not damage organisms that are vital for plant growth. This process therefore gives the beneficial organisms a competitive advantage.”

In trials with tomatoes the use of Guided Biotics® was shown to reduce Pseudomonas syringae and Botrytis cinerea by more than 99.9% and double the weight of the tomato yield.

Ed explains:“Our first product candidate uses an epiphyte (a naturally occurring bacteria from the tomato plant), to share the DNA sequence which gets rid of the Pseudomonas Syringae. The epiphyte also naturally produces molecules to remove Botrytis (fungus) and the combination enables the yield improvement.”

Over 12 million hectares of tomatoes are grown globally and they are at risk of bacterial canker which is caused by Pseudomonas syringae. Canker is also a serious disease of stone fruits such as cherries and peaches, showing the technology has a significant global market across many disease targets.

The use of phage particles is already regarded as safe by major territories and is being increasingly used in diagnostics and medication. The ‘reprogramming’ uses the gene editing technology CRISPR, which is recognised as distinct from genetic modification as it does not introduce alien DNA into the organism. Regulatory reform already underway is likely to support the wider use of this technology.

Ed continues: “FOLIUM has benefited from funding and due diligence from Innovate UK; with the necessary funding it has the potential to be spun-out as a plant-focussed company addressing a global crop protection market valued at £50bn.

“FOLIUM benefited greatly from the profile gained at the REAP 2018 Start-Up Showcase and I hope to repeat this success with FLOURISH.”

Dr Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, comments: “Antibiotic resistance is a global ‘One Health’ problem and FLOURISH is offering an innovative alternative. I am sure that it will attract significant interest from the agri-tech innovation ecosystem. REAP has provided profile for many exciting early-stage businesses with collaborators, end users and investors. 14 of the companies previously featured have collectively raised over £92 Million in the last three years.”

Categories
2022

FOLIUM Science included in Department for Internatioinal Trade “One Health” initiative

FOLIUM Science, alongside other leading UK science and technology businesses is proud to be part of an initiative that showcases the UK’s world-class science and research capabilities to address global challenges and build a future which is greener, safer, and healthier.


The brochure has been produced by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and is to be launched at the World One Health Congress in Singapore and IHF World Hospital Congress in Dubai.

The aim of the initiative is to attract investors and collaborators from around the world. The UK offers one of the strongest and most productive health, life, agricultural and environmental science sectors in the world with a high concentration of world leading talent, reference laboratories, innovative research programmes, and ample opportunities for value creation through partnering, deal-making or investment.

FOLIUM Science is well placed to tackle two of the global challenges
highlighted by the ONE HEALTH initiative. Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and climate change are both enormous challenges for animal farming. The animal’s gut bacteria are central to both gas emissions and an unhealthy microbiome.

FOLIUM Science’s patented technology, “Guided Biotics®”
improves gut health by removing unwanted bacteria and regulating its metabolism. Guided Biotics® reduce the need to use antibiotics, reduce GHG emissions and improve productivity for our farming community.

Categories
2022

FOLIUM Science achieves major commercial milestone

Bristol based biotech business FOLIUM Science has completed an important milestone in its commercialisation phase as it continues to develop its ground-breaking technology platform that selectively removes unwanted bacteria from an animal’s gut.

This patented technology, called Guided Biotics®, will remove the need to use antibiotics in farmed animals. In a world where antimicrobial resistance is a global problem, where antibiotics are increasingly ineffective, unacceptable to consumers and restricted in use, FOLIUM Science’s revolutionary biotechnology helps to solve these problems by supporting positive animal nutrition and sustainable animal farming.

In collaboration with a leading multinational animal nutrition partner, FOLIUM Science can now build on promising in-vivo trial work and begin the process of bringing the first product to market.

Using the Guided Biotics® technology, trials in poultry flocks have shown incredibly promising results in reducing Salmonella. Food poisoning continues to be a problem across the world, with salmonellosis cases now increasing in many countries. Non-typhoidal salmonellosis is reported to cause over one million infections, 19,000 hospitalizations and over 400 deaths annually in the US, with some Salmonella strains showing antibiotic resistance.

Salmonella in the gut of a chicken is difficult to control, however unlike the action of antibiotics that will kill the good bacteria in the gut as well as the bad, Guided Biotics® selectively remove only the undesirable bacteria, leaving the beneficial bacteria intact. This supports a positive gut microbiome by allowing these beneficial bacteria to thrive.

Guided Biotics® technology represents a new category in animal feed additives and functional nutrition, that can directly benefit animal well-being by supporting a healthy microbiome.

The development of modelling techniques to quickly assess the effectiveness of new products is an innovative tool that allows the FOLIUM Science team to screen alternatives and identify the versions that are most likely to be successful. This creates an efficient product delivery process that can be taken forward into live trials.

Creating strong and focussed teams in each development area has also proved fruitful where technical specialists and support staff work closely together to share ideas and improve expertise across the business.

The new partnership and investment will enable FOLIUM Science to move to the next stage of commercialisation and not only develop the application of Guided Biotics® technology in poultry but continue the development of future programmes that include applications in cattle, swine and aquaculture. Development platforms in the pipeline also include products to modulate an animal’s microbiome to give the friendly bacteria beneficial advantages over pathogens in the gut.

FOLIUM Science CEO Ed Fuchs says “I am delighted to have achieved this breakthrough which was part of the strategic roadmap created 4 years ago when the business was founded.  Our goals and focus on the Guided Biotic Platform are fully aligned to the multinational partner’s animal nutrition business unit. This validates the market opportunity and unlocks well established capability to deliver Guided Biotic products in market. 

It is a credit to the FOLIUM Science team how they have evolved the Guided Biotic platform to application in the most challenging real-world environment.  We can also celebrate our own expansion of capacity in the move to new laboratory facilities at Science Creates in Bristol.  These facilities enable us to achieve our vision and expand into modulating gut microbiomes to reduce waste and improve productivity.

The founders are also excited to be working on similar technology for food processing, plant health and human dietary requirements.  These applications are a mere walk in the park!”   

The joint development agreement involves an undisclosed sum for a multi-year investment and commercialisation rights to BiomElix One®, a feed additive for poultry and other species that targets all Salmonella serotypes.

The benefits of working with a major multinational with a very strong research ethic  are clear. The collaboration between both teams of scientists on product development alongside shared contacts and expertise will bring advantages to all stakeholders. The manufacturing facilities and regulatory know-how offered by the partnership will also have a significant impact on the speed with which products can be brought to market and facilitate the advancement of new platforms.

The FOLIUM Science team of scientists will continue to operate from the dedicated research base in Bristol UK enabling the business to further expand the capabilities of Guided Biotics® across wide range of pathogenic, wastage and spoilage bacteria.