An interview with founder & CEO of Axitan - Dr. Kane Miller

Axitan is a new biotech company that develops non-antibiotic feed additive solutions
calendar icon 12 September 2023
clock icon 3 minute read

Editor's note: Last week I caught up with the founder and CEO of Axitan, Dr. Kane Miller, via Zoom. His company is focused on developing a library of antimicrobial enzymes, known as endolysins, that selectively destroy economically important bacteria in animal agriculture. Their first commercial product - known as FORC3® - addresses Clostridium perfringens in poultry. Check out the interview below.

Who is Axitan?

At its core, Axitan is a biotech company that was established to develop a non-antibiotic based feed additive solution to address problematic bacteria historically managed through antibiotics in animal feed. Not surprisingly, our core management team - myself, Dr Wei Lee (COO) and Dr Francisco Navarro (CSO) - are all scientists from leading UK and US institutions. We are then supported by a highly experienced Board from the US agricultural sector and are delighted to have Clint Severson as a business advisor and shareholder. Clint is perhaps best known for transforming Abaxis and exiting it to Zoetis for circa $1.9b in 2018.

What is your business focus?

Our business focus is the development of endolysin based solutions for:

  1. targeting and destroying bacteria that impact livestock farming
  2. improving the efficiency of livestock production

To explain, an endolysin an antimicrobial enzyme that specifically binds to and then cuts the cell wall (the peptidoglycan layer) of the targeted bacteria, causing it to burst.

So as a biotech company, we are in the business of identifying the most effective endolysins for targeting any given pathogen and, in parallel, formulating them into products of commercial relevance.

What specific problems do you solve for poultry producers/industry?

Within the poultry industry, our first product has been developed to address two very regular challenges integrators tell us they face:

  1. managing Clostridium perfringens in a NAE context more scientifically and sustainably
  2. the constant need to improve performance KPI’s such as feed conversion and daily weight gain, both in “No Antibiotics Ever” and “No Antibiotics Important to Human Medicine” settings

Species targeted/types of product(s)?

Our first product is called FORC3. It is a GRAS-affirmed feed additive specifically for poultry and is normally included into starter and grower feed. Inclusion levels typically run at the 1lb per ton level, it being mixed into the feed at the feed mill.

What makes your business/products unique?

Without wanting to overstate it, we are developing a new type of feed additive that can help shape the future of the animal feed additive industry internationally as it transitions away from antibiotics and ionophores.

Dr. Kane Miller obtained an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Biochemical Engineering from University College London (UCL). He earned his BSc in Mathematical Physics at the University of Nottingham, followed by a Master’s degree in Biochemical Engineering at UCL. Kane’s doctoral studies focused on algal production systems. After graduating, he spent a year as a Postdoctoral Research Associate where he investigated the commercial applications of algal biotechnology. It was during this time that the concept of applying algal biotechnology to animal agriculture came into focus. As the founder of Axitan, he is closely involved in all aspects of the business. Whilst his role has evolved, from a bioprocess engineering focus at Axitan’s conception, he still is actively involved in the scientific, manufacturing, and regulatory decision-making process. Kane oversees Axitan’s strategy and its execution, in addition to providing guidance, management and motivation to the rest of the team. He also authored and co-authored both of Axitan’s successful Innovate UK grant proposals and has spearheaded Axitan’s fundraising activities.

Sarah Mikesell


Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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