Dr. Hans Koehnk

A Message From Koehnk:

I am a Veterinarian and the CEO of Vicinius Bio, INC. Veterinarians are uniquely qualified to lead human health companies due to our broad education, the connected nature of humans and animals with regards to both infectious and non-infectious disease, and the necessary emphasis on business ownership and entrepreneurialism that is critical to success within the field.  Veterinarians are expected to be business owners at some point in their career. My formal education included not only classes in Veterinary Medicine, but also basic business classes and electives in entrepreneurialism. During my education, I also partnered with a classmate to create Premium Animal Research, Inc., an S-Corp from which performed contract animal field research while studying Veterinary Medicine full-time. I credit this opportunity to the entrepreneurial spirit and training I received in my education. 

Veterinarians have also been shown to be strong leaders in human pharma.  The most notable current example s Dr. Albert Bourla, DVM, the current CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors at Pfizer,the second largest pharmaceutical company in the United States.  Dr. Bourla successfully led Pfizer through the unprecedented COVID pandemic and continues to serve as the company’s CEO to this day.  Another notable example is Dr. Pascal Soriot, DVM, the CEO of Astra Zeneca since 1981. 

While pandemics and epidemics are a relatively rare occurrence in human health, they are a yearly occurrence in veterinary medicine.  At the same time, the emphasis for the decrease in the use of antibiotics in domestic species has put an increased emphasis on vaccination technology.  For this reason, experience with a variety of vaccines and platforms is extremely robust within the veterinary field. 

My involvement in vaccine R&D, licensing, manufacturing, and post-marketing support spans over 20 years. My work includes development and/or licensing and manufacturing of live and inactivated vaccines for the prevention of diseases including those attributed to E. coli, Salmonella, Erysipelas, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium septicum, Adenovirus, Paramyxovirus, Circovirus, Influenza virus, Reovirus, Parvovirus, Betaarterivirus, rabies virus, Baculovirus construct recombinant platforms, and Poxvirus recombinant platforms. Ongoing and recently completed projects that I am working on are of a proprietary nature due to the commercial aspect of my work.  Overall, my broad-based experience, including the development of vaccines, makes me uniquely qualified to lead this SBIR project.

Due to the nature of my work as an owner, my honors have been primarily recognized by the market in the successful development and licensing of vaccines for sale in both the United States and abroad.  In essence, the market has shown my scientific work to be valuable through the regulatory approval and sale of effective products. 



Campbell, Joy & Russell, L. & Crenshaw, Joe & Koehnk, Hans. (2006). Effect of Spray-Dried Plasma Form and Duration of Feeding on Broiler Performance During Natural Necrotic Enteritis Exposure. The Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 15. 584-591. 10.1093/japr/15.4.584.


Positions, Scientific Appointments, and Honors:

Positions and Scientific Appointment

1994-1996 — Laboratory Coordinator for the Edward Brown Laboratory, University of Northern Iowa

1998-2001 — Owner, Premium Animal Research

2000-2001 — Associate Veterinarian, Flying Cloud Animal Hospital, Eden Prairie, Minnesota

2001-Present — Owner, Director of Research and Development ARKO Laboratories, LTD

2022-Present — CEO, Vicinius Bio Inc.



1999 — John Poppajohn Entrepreneurial Scholarship Winner, Iowa State University

2007-2011 — Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association

2012-2016 — Vice President, President-Elect, President, Immediate Past President: Iowa Veterinary Medical Association


Contributions to Science:

  1. Developed and licensed the first orally delivered, non-toxigenic F4 and F18 E. coli vaccines for swine. USDA product codes licenses 15R1.00 and 1551.02 were awarded in 2003 and 2005, respectively.  Prior to the licensing of these products, swine facilities were experiencing up to 60% mortality in herds due to E.coli related edema disease and colibacillosis.  The vaccines are highly affective, decreasing mortality from a level of 60% to less than 1% in field clinical trials.  These products are the market leaders in this field to this day and are becoming available worldwide through ARKO and our international partners.
  2. Current development of proprietary technologies. Currently, I am working on several projects that are in either patent pending, non-published applications or in the patent drafting stages that have involved cutting edge technology for the application to clinical microbiology and vaccinology.  These projects are proprietary, and therefore I cannot divulge the full nature of them.  However, I will give general information:

    2.a.  Patent pending technology for the significant reduction of mobile antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes in animal populations.  This invention involves a broad system in which AMR genes can be eliminated from the microbiome of animals.  With the lack of financial incentive for large pharma to produce new and more effective antibiotics, the World Health Organization has declared the increase in AMR as a global and health and development threat.  The cost of AMR to the economy is significant. In addition to death and disability, prolonged illness results in longer hospital stays, the need for more expensive medicines and financial challenges for those impacted.  Without effective antimicrobials, the success of modern medicine in treating infections, including during major surgery and cancer chemotherapy, would be at increased risk.

    2b.  Strategies to eliminate foreign animal diseases from large populations without wide scale mass- euthanasia of infected animals, as is now employed in these situations.

    2c.  Development of technology that can be delivered via mass administration to animals to decrease compliance issues due to labor shortages in the industry which will continue to become worse.  This will allow for a decrease in AMR by decreasing the need for treatment.
  1. Assisted in the discovery of phenanthrine digesting organisms. In my time as an undergraduate student, I was a lab coordinator for a project funded as a result of the catastrophic oil spill off the Alaskan coast due to the leakage of the Exxon Valdez tanker ship.  I worked with Zachary Richter, a PhD student at the time to evaluate the effects on the environment and monitoring the subtidal sediment of the Alaskan shoreline microbiome for its adaptation to the presence of increased phenanthrene levels due to the oil spill.  During the time of this research, a bacteria was discovered that was able to digest and metabolize phenanthrene, leading to potential interventions in future oil spills

Braddock, J., Richter, Z., “Microbiology of Subtidal Sediments:  Monitoring Microbial Populations”  Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Project, Final Report 93047-2;  June 1994.  www.arlis.org/docs/vol1/33964083.pdf