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Probiotics Maker UAS Laboratories Raises $21.2M From Investors

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

The Wausau, WI-based probiotics manufacturer UAS Laboratories says it has raised more than $21.2 million, according to an SEC filing that was recently made public. Twelve investors participated in the equity funding round, according to the filing.

UAS Labs formulates, blends, bottles, and distributes probiotic products, which are designed to stimulate the growth of so-called “good” bacteria in the gut. The company offers private label sales, which allow customers to incorporate formulations from UAS Labs into dietary supplements and other products, and sell them under their own brand names.

The company was launched in 1979 by S.K. Dash, who remains a member of its board of directors, according to the filing. In 2013, the Milwaukee-based private equity firm Lakeview Equity Partners acquired UAS Labs for an undisclosed sum. As part of that deal, Kevin Mehring and Greg Leyer were named president and chief scientific officer, respectively, of UAS Labs. (Mehring also currently serves as the company’s CEO, according to its website).

Another securities document that was made public on Friday, the same day as the UAS Labs filing, shows that the entity “UAS Lakeview Investment Company” raised about $8.2 million for a private equity investment fund. Two of the people named in the document as executives of UAS Lakeview Investment—W. Kent Velde and Joseph Cesarz—are with Lakeview Equity Partners, according to that organization’s website.

In an e-mail to Xconomy, Cesarz declined to comment on the relationship between UAS Labs (the company) and UAS Lakeview Investment (the fund). He also said that UAS Labs had no comment on questions about what it plans to do with the proceeds from its recent funding round.

“UAS is privately held and it is our policy that we do not comment on anything related to any of our companies … financings, refinancings, recapitalizations, etc.,” said Cesarz, who serves as managing director at Lakeview Equity Partners.

Some research has suggested probiotic foods and beverages do not provide the advertised health benefits, such as better digestion, at least in healthy adults. The National Institutes of Health says that some probiotics might help prevent diarrhea caused by infections or antibiotics, and they can fight symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. But the benefits of probiotics “have not been conclusively demonstrated, and not all probiotics have the same effects,” according to the NIH website.

On its website, UAS Labs says it conducts “gold-standard, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical studies.” These studies are performed on individual probiotic strains, as well as on finished private label formulations, the company says.