40 Years of Probiotic Excellence
UAS Labs is celebrating 40 years of excellence! Explore the history of our company by following the major milestones in our journey below.
United Agricultural Services Laboratories, now referred to as UAS Labs, was founded on June 21, 1979 by Dr. S.K. Dash. Dr. Dash had previously served as the Director of the South Dakota Food and Drug. At that time, UAS Laboratories was headquartered in Edina, Minnesota, USA.
The company started as a Lactobacillus acidophilus supplier centering their portfolio around Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1. This individual strain is a patented probiotic boasting over 20 years of clinical research showing its ability to provide immune and digestive support. L. acidophilus is one of the most common species used in probiotics clinical research and DDS®-1 remains one of the longest studied strains of this species.
Wausau, WI Expansion: 2012
The research behind DDS®-1 made UAS Labs a successful, science-centered probiotic company. Under the direction of Dr. S. K. Dash, UAS Laboratories expanded production and tripled its probiotic manufacturing capacity in 2012 with a new facility in Wausau, WI. Within this facility Dr. Dash oversaw a laboratory expansion built to conduct cGMP required probiotic testing. The Wausau, WI facility would later become the headquarters of UAS Labs.
Acquired by Lakeview Equity Partners: 2013
In April 2013, two influential leaders in the probiotic industry purchased UAS Labs with the support of private equity investment firm, Lakeview Equity Partners LLC.
Kevin Mehring became President and CEO while Dr. Gregory Leyer would serve as UAS Labs’ Chief Scientific Officer. Both came to UAS Labs with industry knowledge, having been previously employed at DuPont Nutrition & Health (formerly Danisco), and the desire to move the industry forward.
Around this time, the UAS Labs brand was refreshed and our current logo was adopted in order to escort the company into a new era. While the brand took on a fresh look, the new owners maintained one sole focus – probiotics. They accelerated research and product development at the probiotic company.
Launch of UP4 Brand: 2014
This new line for probiotics was designed for easier consumer selection and specifically formulated for each individual need.
DDS®-1 continued to be the flagship of UAS Labs’ probiotic portfolio as research had proven it to be one of the best probiotics ever commercialized. Every product addressed a specific market need and each one included UAS superstrain, Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS®-1.
Madison, WI and India Expansion: 2014
The launch of UP4 spawned the need for UAS Labs to build their brand’s presence among direct consumers. In January of 2014,
UAS Labs created a customer facing, consumer brands division called, “UAS LifeSciences LLC”. An office was added in Madison, WI to house the corporate management, sales & marketing, strategic planning, and the research and product development functions. Headquarters and manufacturing remained in Wausau, WI.
Just as UAS Labs was amid launching the UP4 brand, they recognized the growing interest of probiotics in the far east. In June of that same year, UAS Labs established UAS Life Sciences Private Limited in Hyderabad, India to expand their customer base in Asia.
Acquisition of LRC™ and Cardioviva Brand: 2014
Keeping an eye on industry needs and specific advancements, Kevin and Dr. Greg identified an opportunity to advance their offerings with a heart healthy probiotic strain. Later that year, they purchased the intellectual property assets associated with the probiotic strain, Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 (LRC™) as well as the Cardoviva brand from Montreal-based company, Micropharma Limited.In
Probiotic strain LRC™ is supported by an impressive research package of in-vitro and clinical studies. Multiple double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized human trials show the probiotics ability to support healthy cholesterol already within a normal range. No doubt, UAS Labs was eager to include this well-researched strain in their product line.
Sold UP4 brand to i-Health: 2017
In 2017, the ownership team made the strategic decision to exit the direct consumer marketplace and focus solely on business to business needs. They would continue to sell probiotic strains exclusively to companies for use in other brands. With this decision, UAS Labs sold the UP4 consumer brand to i-Health Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal DSM in 2017. In this agreement, UAS Labs maintained ownership of the Cardioviva brand and LRC™ trademark.
UAS Labs was well suited for B2B excellence as their manufacturing capabilities allowed them to provide probiotic solutions in every form from bulk probiotics strains, to probiotic blends, capsules, bottles and even a shelf-ready, labeled, finished product.
Acquisition of Nebraska Cultures: 2018
Since the beginning, UAS Labs was proud to build their business on the research behind the probiotic strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus, DDS®-1. However, UAS Labs did not own exclusive rights to the DDS®-1 strain. They had always shared ownerships rights with Nebraska Cultures whose founder, Dr. Khem Shanani had started the research on the legendary strain in 1959.
In April of 2018, UAS Labs acquired Nebraska Cultures Inc., which granted UAS Labs the long sought-after exclusivity over DDS®-1 along with the rights to the spore-based probiotic brand, ProDURA®.
Fermentation Facility Expansion: 2018
It was evident by UAS Labs’ history that the company was a “mover and shaker” in the probiotic industry. The year 2018 continued to strengthen that notion as UAS Labs unveiled a new new probiotic fermentation facility in Madison, Wisconsin. This facility, designed specifically for probiotics, was the result of a 60-million-dollar investment principally by Lakeview Equity Partners, LLC. It is here that UAS Labs has expanded their commercial probiotic fermentation capabilities, advanced the development of probiotic strains and improved standard lead times to their global customer base.
As one of the only vertically integrated probiotic companies, UAS Labs can now control quality throughout production from Strain to Solution™. This is especially critical in probiotics as outside factors such as temperature, humidity, and production processes can impact the livelihood of the product.
Licensing of Weight Management Probiotic, BNR17™: 2018
Later that year, UAS Labs identified another probiotic strain that met the company’s high standard for clinically studied probiotics. UAS licensed the BNR17™ strain of Lactobacillus gasseri, isolated from human breast milk, from South Korean Biotech company, Acebiome. 18 years of pre-clinical research and 3 clinical trials showed the probiotic strains ability to provide healthy weight and digestive support. This research earned BNR17™ approval as a functional ingredient in South Korea.
With this license, UAS Labs maintains exclusive rights to both the manufacturing of the strain as well as the sale of Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17™ in identified countries. While this strain has already been recognized as the Weight Management Ingredient of the Year, UAS Labs does not rest; with a focus on continual improvement there is another well-powered clinical study in the works.
Both CEO Kevin Mehring and CSO Dr. Gregory Leyer continue to prove their passion for quality probiotics through membership in 5 non-profit organizations promoting health, sustainability, and advancement of the probiotic industry. Most prominently among these organizations are the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) and the International Probiotics Association (IPA), where Mr. Mehring currently holds the position of President. This devotion to probiotic development and advancement is also evident in their decision to continually invest in clinical studies following Dr. Leyer’s long history of probiotic clinical research.
UAS Labs continues to operate as a fully integrated probiotic supplier. They offer probiotic solutions and services throughout the full manufacturing process including R&D, bioprocessing, fermentation, freeze-drying, milling, blending, encapsulation, bottling, labeling, packaging, storage and shipping.
Because of this depth in vertical integration, UAS Labs quickly adopted the trademark, “Strain to Solution™.” This tagline represented the company’s ability to offer everything from probiotic raw materials to probiotic finished product applications.
UAS Labs capabilities are packaged and promoted as three primary goods and services:
- Private Label Probiotics: Utilizing standard formulations scientifically designed to meet the needs of today’s consumers, a company can partner with UAS Labs to produce a finished product with their custom label.
- Probiotic Contract Manufacturing: An offering unique to the customer, UAS Labs can work to improve an existing formulation, design a custom blend from scratch, or even commercialize an exclusive probiotic raw material.
- Probiotic Raw Materials: Each strain is carefully selected and tested for survival within the gut before commercialization at our state-of-the-art probiotic fermentation facility. There, bulk probiotic strains are produced as a milled, freeze-dried powder while ensuring quality and purity at every step.
40 Years of Recognition
- One of the Top 25 Biotechnology companies in 2012 as recognized by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.
- Top 10 CMOs in 2019 as recognized by pharma tech outlook magazine.
- Best Premium Probiotics Manufacturer 2019 – Midwest USA as recognized by Acquisition International.
- DDS Probiotics were awarded Better Nutrition’s Best Supplements Award in 2010 – Cran Gyn DDS, 2011 – Probioplus DDS, 2012 – ProbioGreen DDS, 2014 – UP4 Women’s Probiotic, 2015 – UP4 Adult Cubes, 2016 – Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotic.
- “The Doctors’ Prescription for Healthy Living”, a leading consumer health publication, named DDS Probiotics as the Editor’s Choice Award for 2012 for Best Probiotic Formulas.
- Recognized as the #1 Cardiologist preferred probiotic by a Board of 200 certified cardiologists.
- 1st Clinically studied Heart Health Probiotic.
- Approved as a functional ingredient for helping reduce body fat by the Korea FDA.
- NutraIngredients 2018 Weight Management Ingredient of the Year.
40 Years of Clinical Studies
Research is at the core of UAS Labs’ business model. In 40 Years of business, UAS Labs has backed their products with over 75 in-vitro and clinical studies!
The company conducts International clinical studies and local R&D, bioprocessing and quality assurance studies at in-house laboratories. All research efforts are led by CSO, Dr. Gregory Leyer, PHD who has authored or co-authored 24 publications pertaining to probiotics in his 25 years spent in the industry.
UAS Labs is most well-known for the probiotic clinical research surrounding the company’s 4 trademarked or licensed probiotic strains, marketed as “superstrains”: L. acidophilus DDS®-1, L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 (LRC™), L. gasseri BNR17™ and B. coagulans ProDURA®.