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Why we invested in Antler Bio

E. Bader
July 18, 2023

The Nest Family Office Adds Antler Bio to Our Investment Portfolio

Animal welfare, sustainability for livestock production, and human nutrition are deeply linked. Antler Bio, the latest investment in our portfolio, leverages epigenomics to address all three issues. Epigenetics is an emerging field of scientific research that links environmental factors to gene expression. Antler Bio is a first-of-its-kind solution that uses this RNA data as well as machine learning to identify the complex relationship between gene expression and animal well-being, performance, and sustainability. Antler Bio’s unique platform of data and insights helps farmers make informed decisions on herd management.

Antler Bio is currently working with early adopters and is focused on dairy cattle, but their solution is scalable to other species, including beef cattle. The company currently has one of the world’s largest RNA datasets for Holstein dairy cattle.

“One thing that differentiates us from other research on gene expression and animal genomics is that we capture a lot of phenotypic data on the animals,” said Maria Jensen, founder, and CEO. “We have a lot of data from the cows about their feed, intake, environment, and from milking robots. We couple that data with the analysis of gene expression and use machine learning to strengthen the insights. Then, we deliver scientifically robust information to the farmer in an easy-to-understand format.”

The data can be applied to improve the performance of animals through on-farm management, which has a much faster impact on optimizing performance than genetics, which remain unchanged for an animal’s lifetime. Antler Bio’s solution also supports bench marking animals’ performance against their potential, breeding decisions and accurately selecting the best calves to retain, and early detection of stressors and health issues before symptoms occur.

At The Nest, we aim to support solutions that can positively impact farmer livelihoods, human nutrition, and the environment. By harnessing insights from epigenomics, Antler Bio can create positive change across all three of these areas. The industrialized and inhumane way most animal agriculture is carried out today is undoubtedly one of the most broken pieces of our food system. Through epigenomic analysis, Antler Bio can demonstrate how husbandry practices and environmental factors impact an animal’s health and wellbeing, resulting in increased profitability for the farmer. Creating this link provides an incentive to really shift how animals are farmed today —moving cows from cages to fields, replacing grains with grass as feed, and ultimately, decreasing the environmental toll of animal agriculture. We also believe that these healthier and happier animals will provide more nutritious milk and meat. We are inspired by the talented and mission-driven team at Antler Bio, and we are so excited to be partners with them on this journey.

While Antler Bio is attracting investment capital, the company has been very successful in doubling every investment with grant funding and in attracting top advisors, including agribusiness entrepreneur Richard Kennedy.

“Having been involved in the Agriculture and Food industry for over 30 years with a specific focus on developing innovative solutions through R&D and commercializing those solutions, I have long been interested in the application of genomics and epigenomics in this area. I believe solutions to many of the challenges in animal and milk production can be found in this area with this disruptive technology,” said Richard Kennedy, an advisor to Antler Bio.

“The big issue for me was that I could not find any companies engaged in exploring or researching this area. So, when I found Antler Bio, it became very clear that not only are Antler Bio global leaders in terms of expertise and knowledge in genomics and epigenomics, but the technology they have developed is market leading by a long way. It was also obvious that the team that have been assembled are leading experts in the field. Maria Jensen and the team at Antler Bio have the ball at their feet and with the drive and determination that I have seen they have the potential to deliver groundbreaking technology solutions in the production of milk and meat - improving animal welfare, sustainability, and animal health. Antler Bio is one of the most exciting innovative companies I have ever come across.”

Learn more about Antler Bio’s innovative solution at their website or our recent interview with Maria Jensen and Andrew Lessey.