Portland-based ImmuCell Corp. has received a $500,000 loan from the Maine Technology Institute, in part for the development of its latest animal health product, which is in the process of obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

The product, called Re-Tain, would offer a natural treatment for mastitits, or inflammation of the udders, in lactating cows. One major advantage of the product is that dairy farmers using it would not have to discard milk collected during treatment, as they must do with other products.

Betsy Williams, vice president of manufacturing operations at ImmuCell, gives a tour of its facility on Evergreen Drive in Portland in 2017. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

ImmuCell said the loan will support its investments to increase production capacity of its flagship product First Defense, to complete the development of Re-Tain and to bring certain aspects of production in house following FDA approval and market launch.

The first two years of the loan’s five-year repayment term are interest-free with no required principal payments, the company said in a news release. Principal and interest payments at 5 percent interest are due quarterly beginning in the fourth quarter of 2022. The loan may be repaid early without penalty at any time, it said.

“This funding represents another building block in our financing strategy to pay for the expansion of our First Defense production capacity and the commercialization of Re-Tain,” ImmuCell President and CEO Michael F. Brigham said in the release. “The support from the state of Maine with this innovative financial instrument helps us move forward confidently with our growth investments and employee hiring plans.”

ImmuCell said it is in the process of increasing its annual production capacity for First Defense products, which treat scours – or diarrhea – in newborn calves, from roughly $18 million to $27 million.

ImmuCell is a publicly traded company whose shares trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol ICCC. The value of ImmuCell shares increased by more than 4 percent to $4.47 in trading Tuesday.

The Maine Technology Institute is a publicly financed, private, nonprofit organization created by the Legislature in 1999 to stimulate research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products, processes and services in the state’s seven targeted technology sectors.

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