Illustration by Nathan Wright.

The following article originally appeared on January 16, 2019 via Clay & Milk.

By Jake Slobe

Ag Startup Engine has made an initial seed investment in LEAH Laboratories.

LEAH Labs is an animal health startup focused on a breakthrough treatment that will control and cure B cell lymphoma in dogs.

Ag Startup Engine’s demonstrated support for start-ups with roots in the heart of Iowa is exactly why they are a great early investor in LEAH Labs,” said Dr. Wesley Wierson, CEO of LEAH Labs in the announcement. “This investment accelerates LEAH Labs’ product development and will help our technology get into the clinic faster. We are excited to forge a partnership with Ag Startup Engine and continue creating biotechnology buzz in Iowa.”

LEAH Labs’ technology enables precision gene editing for treatment of lymphoma, which accounts for 83 percent of all canine blood cell malignancies and is the most commonly managed cancer in veterinary oncology. One million dogs die from B cell lymphoma every year in the United States alone. LEAH Labs uses licensed, patent pending technology that enables reprogramming of the canine genome through gene editing, creating new therapies mediated by the dog’s own immune cells.

“Dr. Wierson made considerable progress in developing LEAH technology while completing his PhD at Iowa State University in Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology and has surrounded himself and the business with a very impressive group of mentors and advisers,” said Kevin Kimle, co-director of Ag Startup Engine. “LEAH’s partnerships with leadingveterinarian and health care providers is also impressive. The plans are an Iowa State University Research Park presence for the business, and the market potential for LEAH’s technology beyond its initial target market make it a good fit for Ag Startup Engine investment.”

This is the eighth startup Ag Startup Engine has invested in since its formation in 2016.

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