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29 May, 2019 - 14:24 By Kate Sweeney

New CEO for AgriTech disease innovator PBD Biotech

Mark Hammond

Novel diagnostic developer PBD Biotech has appointed a new CEO – Mark Hammond – to drive the company’s expansion. 

The success of the Suffolk company’s Actiphage® test for rapid detection of TB and other mycobacterial disease is attracting international interest as it offers, for the first time, a means of managing these infections across multiple market sectors, from animal to human health and food quality control.

Bovine TB and Johne’s are devastating mycobacterial diseases that have resulted in the loss of livelihoods and the destruction of thousands of animals. 

PBD Biotech developed its Actiphage biotechnology to provide the first blood test for accurate diagnosis of these diseases and it was proven successful in helping to eradicate bovine TB from a Devon farm. 

Actiphage has since secured inclusion in the UK Government’s list of tests for exceptional private use on cattle herds in England. This success has created interest in using the test in humans, as there is currently no blood test to help with early-stage TB screening. 

Actiphage is being investigated by researchers from the University of Leicester in clinical trials with patients who have both latent and active TB infections. 

Early findings from the clinical trial were due to be announced at the international conference of the American Thoracic Society in Dallas last week with the full paper available later in 2019, subject to peer review.

Mark Hammond has held a number a number of senior leadership roles throughout his 20 years’ experience in public and private healthcare. His appointment is announced as PBD Biotech declares its first multi-million pound funding round to support the test’s regulatory validation and ongoing commercialisation. 

Hammond said: “I am excited about what the future holds for PBD Biotech, and keen to build on our fast-growing reputation as a leader in mycobacterial diagnostics.

“Actiphage is unique as it is able to detect the presence of only live pathogen in samples, separating out any vaccine-antibodies, which offers it significant benefits as a disease diagnostic.”

Hammond succeeds Dr Berwyn Clarke, who co-founded the company and, following his retirement as CEO, is to become a non-executive director on PBD Biotech’s board. 

Dr Clarke said: “The scale of the mycobacterial problem – animal, human and food – that Actiphage is addressing is enormous, which is why the test’s potential across these market sectors and geographies is huge.

“PBD Biotech has hit so many milestones in such a short time span – with European and American patents, international trials, proven scientific success and a Canadian subsidiary. 

“Mark’s knowledge of pharma and healthcare will be invaluable as PBD Biotech continues to gain traction for its transformational tool in disease diagnosis and management.”

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