UNLV and Colony Shield Enter License Agreement

Mar. 20, 2015

UNLV and startup company Colony Shield are entering an exclusive license agreement that will enable the company to make, use, and sell products based on a discovery by UNLV life sciences professor Penny Amy.

Her discovery allows for the effective prevention of American Foulbrood Disease (AFB), which kills millions of bees each year. The disease, caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, can be devastating to affected beehives, which must be destroyed or undergo costly remediation processes.

Amy’s technology involves a natural biological process that kills the Paenibacillus bacterium but is safe for bees and humans.

“We are very excited about this license agreement,” said Zachary Miles, Executive Director of Economic Development and Technology Transfer. “Penny is an amazing researcher, and the technology could have a great impact in this area. Additionally, Colony Shield has developed an excellent strategic plan to take this to market.”

According to Amy, AFB has worldwide impact and undoubtedly contributes to Colony Collapse Disorder. Because bees pollinate nearly one third of our food crops, AFB can have a huge impact on agriculture. The current treatment for AFB is with antibiotics – not a good solution because of bacterial resistance and residue in the honey – or complete destruction by burning the hive and associated equipment.

“We hope that those who keep bees will find this a successful prevention method to avoid the devastation of AFB,” Amy says, adding that the economic impact of preventing AFB would be tremendous. “Every hive costs several hundred dollars to set up, and each one not lost to disease means cost savings.” 

Because of the extreme measures that regulators take when AFB is identified in hives, her discovery is a great and inexpensive alternative, she added.

“I am extremely grateful that both UNLV and Colony Shield have seen the value in supporting this treatment that promises to help prevent some of the devastating loss of honeybees in the United States and worldwide,” Amy said.