Triad company raises nearly $1M to further research, testing
December 21, 2016 – GREENSBORO, NC - Alrgn Bio Inc., a startup company based at Gateway University Research Park in Greensboro, has raised $946,188 in equity financing to help fund additional testing on the company's technology aimed at reducing allergens in peanuts, hire a chief science officer, buy equipment and compensate a lead researcat N.C. A&T State University.
The company announced the equity financing as part of a Form D filing. Alrgn Bio is pursuing its safer-peanut technology at a time when "more people in the world are becoming allergic to peanuts," said New York real estate developer Kit McQuiston, who also is CEO of Alrgn Bio and based in Manhattan.
“Peanuts just happen to be extremely deadly," he said. "It's the leading cause of anaphylactic food related deaths."
McQuiston told Triad Business Journal that Alrgn Bio hopes to eventually commercialize its technology, which could be licensed by food manufacturers and food companies that in turn would create a safer peanut for everything from a snack served to airplane passengers and a peanut butter used in schools to a breakfast bar and a weightlifting powder.
"People who normally eat peanuts now wouldn't care but the restaurant owner would be happier because his liability just dropped significantly," McQuiston said. "I would imagine that large companies would find this helpful as sort of a brand extension or really the creation of a new brand category."
Some of the $946,188 worth of funding will go toward the compensation of Jianmei Yu, a Ph.D research scientist at N.C. A&T whose work on peanut allergen reduction resulted in a patent that was licensed to Alrgn Bio for commercialization.
Alrgn Bio's testing thus far has shown that the technology has dramatically reduced -- in some cases "99 percent plus -- the proteins that humans are allergic to in peanuts", he said. The technology has been tested by taking peanuts and placing them in a large hot bath of water with some food enzymes, which break down the proteins. Alrgn Bio will focus on additional research at UNC-Chapel Hill, where the company plans to conduct tests on mice, which have been sensitized to simulate how a child with peanut allergies would react to the proteins.
"After that it goes to human oral challenge and then we will be able to license it to food companies," McQuiston said.
McQuiston said the company was founded about three years ago. He got involved two years ago because his daughter is allergic to peanuts. He is not taking a salary for his job as CEO. "Our focus is to keep the burn rate low and (placing) all the resources in proving out the technology," he said.
The company was recently featured in a New York Times story titled "Is it Possible to Make a Less Allergenic Peanut?"
Story written by:
Reporter, Triad Business Journal