When I finished my PhD, I knew I didn’t want my ideas to be confined to a patent that would sit on the shelf collecting dust. I became disillusioned with academia. I was on course to become a professor but I wanted to use scientific research as a way of changing the world. I had to make something happen.
It feels like the timing is right for us. People in the corporate world are talking about the need to make livestock farming more environmentally friendly. People want to eat meat but they feel bad about it. The interface between science and business hasn’t been moving at pace and with our product, we might be able to make a real impact.
We’re not waving a critical finger at farmers. I’m passionate about reducing greenhouse gases – but I believe we need to find a way to do that without penalising farmers and the people who work in that space. We need to help them to help the environment. Meat producers are a huge part of our economy here in the US, and they’re already struggling. Ours is a solution that benefits everyone – economically, socially and environmentally.
We’ve pivoted our initial business plan to reach more farmers more quickly. Rather than approaching individual farmers one by one, we realised we can have a far greater impact by working directly with feed companies and adding our probiotic to animal food.
Our biggest challenge is still ongoing because we can’t launch without regulatory approval from the FDA (Food & Drug Administration). It’s important, of course. But it means there’s a bit of a scientific bottleneck before products can go to market. However, we’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response and hope to expedite the process so we can launch our probiotic in 2019.