A San Diego-headquartered biotechnology company at the forefront of animal health and nutrition is improving the well-being of all animals around the world one microbe at a time.
Native Microbials was founded by Chief Science Officer Mallory Embree and CEO Michael Seely with a mandate to extend proprietary technical advancements in genomic technologies, microbiology and bioinformatics into animal health and nutrition.
“We take measurements and analyze the microbial communities in a network,” Embree said. “Every animal has their own problems that we’re trying to solve.”
The company analyzes the gut microbiomes of individual animal species to create microbial supplements specific to each animal, and builds products and services based on advanced science that help improve the livelihood, productivity and sustainability of animals.
Native Microbials’ first product “Galaxis” was a supplement for dairy cows. The company then released “Avius” for chickens and in 2021 launched “Arkus,” to promote digestive health in dogs.
The company is currently working on microbial supplements for beef cattle, salmon, pigs, calves, horses and cats.
In April, Native Microbials was awarded a $1.4 million grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of its Conservation Innovation Grants program. The grant is funding the company’s Fighting Methane with MIGHT (Microbiome Insights into Greenhouse gases using High-throughput Technologies) project that is researching ways to reduce enteric methane emissions when feeding dairy cows in commercial settings.
“We are very excited that the USDA sees the potential for our novel product, made with rumen-native microbes, to help mitigate the impact of climate change,” Embree said. “This funding will help us evaluate the environmental, economic, and social impact of Galaxis Frontier, and also provide a novel enteric methane emissions quantification method for dairy cattle at a commercial scale.”
Since its founding in 2015, Native Microbials has raised north of $69 million in funding over several rounds, Seely said, and recently closed a Series C round for an undisclosed amount. In 2020, the company raised a $46 million Series B round shortly before rebranding from its former moniker, Ascus Biosciences.
“Well known institutional VC funds have supported Native, most of whom have a strong biological sciences or technology background,” Seely said, adding that Native has overcome the funding hurdles many deep science animal-focused businesses encounter for a couple of reasons.
First is that advanced microbiology is increasingly being shown across many industries to be critical to move the planet to a more productive, efficient and sustainable state, he said.
“Chemistries were cool in the 1950s to 1990s, but today, native microbes that act as chemistry factories can confer more harmonious benefits in-vivo,” he added. “From a technology standpoint, we can actually deliver better and more effective solutions than existing providers because we use a better technology medium.”
Second, in the livestock sector, the customers Native Microbials serves are particularly hungry for innovation.
“The demand for solutions that create value and do so in a sustainable way is significant,” Seely said.
Native Microbials, Inc.
CO-FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO: Mike Seely
CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF SCIENCE OFFICER: Mallory Embree
HEADQUARTERS: Downtown San Diego
FINANCIALS: Native Microbials has raised more than $69 million in venture funding
SOCIAL IMPACT: Helping animals live healthier, happier lives
NOTABLE: Company spent five years researching and formulating products before launching