A group of Bay of Plenty business people have made significant investments in the commercialisation and development of technology which promises to be a "game changer" in the animal diagnostic industry.

Bay of Plenty angel investment group Enterprise Angels was approached last year by Menixis Ltd director Greg Mirams, of Dunedin, who was looking for funding to manufacture a device he believes will revolutionise his industry.

Mr Mirams is managing director of Techion Group Ltd, a company that provides products and services to farmers for the purpose of diagnosing internal parasites in livestock.

After more than 20 years in the industry, Mr Mirams knew there must be a better way for farmers to find out the health of their livestock than sending faecal samples to labs or trying to analyse samples on the farm.


He approached Stephen Sowerby to request his help inventing a device that would allow faecal samples taken on the farm to be sent electronically to Techion for analysis and treatment recommendations.

Dr Sowerby, later employed by the University of Otago, created a device which accumulates particles in a liquid. The digital image captured can be easily sent electronically for analysis.

The finished product will allow farmers to quickly assess the health of their livestock.

The technology could be used in parts of the developing world where parasite infection is common in humans, Mr Mirams said.

He and Dr Sowerby founded Menixis and, with the University of Otago's commercial arm, Otago Innovation, set about further developing the device. Menixis subsequently licensed Techion to use the device in its on-farm diagnostic product. When Mr Mirams approached Enterprise Angels last year, the Bay group saw an opportunity to invest in the technology platform company and the commercialisation company.

Thirteen Bay investors are involved in the deal which will see Menixis receive $200,000 to finalise the development of the device and pay for the first couple of manufacture runs.

Techion will receive $250,000 to change its business model and fund the building of the IT infrastructure. Enterprise Angels chief executive Bill Murphy said: "It's a deal that appeals to us because the things that Enterprise Angels likes to invest in is innovation applied to agriculture, dairy, horticulture, engineering, food and clean tech, all things that you can kick as well as the more typical Angel investments of software-as-a-service, mobile apps, and web-based things."

Enterprise Angels

  • Has made 22 investments worth $7.6 million since 2010.

  • Four deals worth $1.3 million have been made since April 1, 2013.