11 Dec 2020 | 09.28 am
Micron Agritech Raises €500,000
TUD spin-out detects livestock parasites
11 Dec 2020 | 09.28 am
Agricultural technology company Micron Agritech has raised €500,000 in investment funding in a seed round, and the cash will go to bringing parasite detection test Micron Kit to market.
Participants in the seed round were health company Bimeda, agtech venture capital fund The Yield Lab Europe, and Enterprise Ireland.
Parasitic infection is the most common health issue facing grazing livestock, with even moderate infections responsible for ill-thrift, weight loss and even death, and some parasites are capable of stunting the growth of animals by up to 50%. To test for these parasites, samples are taken, shipped to a lab and after an average wait of 3-5 days, results are delivered.
Micron Kit aims to change all that and provide results on the fly. It is a portable device that will test for parasites in cattle, sheep and horses and provide on-site and rapid results via an app, indicating to farmers or vets if they need to medicate animals. The results include the identification of parasites and their burden level.
Micron Agritech is a spin-out from Technological University Dublin and was founded just last year by a team with an average age of 24. Its product addresses both the difficulty and expense of current parasite testing, an obstacle which has led to the common practice of preventative medication.
The test is simple, says chief executive Daniel Hijazi: “The user collects a fecal sample, prepares it through a few steps and then inserts it into the device. Using their phone and the testing app the sample is imaged and then processed through cutting-edge machine learning technology, which has been built from the ground up by Micron Agritech.
“The device enables farmers to reduce spend on testing, medication and costs associated with parasites and resistance. Micron Kit will make early accurate detection and individual treatment both attainable and realistic in parasite testing.”
“Our aim now is to help alleviate some of the pressures currently facing the animal health sector, as levels of resistance increase globally and regulators push to reduce the use of medication, whilst improving farmer income by saving them time and money.
“We look forward to working with our new partners and investors on this opportunity as we bring this new method of testing and its cutting-edge technologies to the world.”
Enterprise Ireland HPSU high potential startup manager Alan Hobbs added: “The team at Micron Agritech are a fitting example of how an innovative solution when paired with real ambition and motivation can quickly evolve into a great business.”
Photo: Daniel Izquierdo Hijazi (left) with co-founders Jose Lopez Escobar, Tara McElligott and Sean Smith