Industry experts recognise new rapid disease detection technology - Veterinary Practice
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Industry experts recognise new rapid disease detection technology

Biotangents, a Scottish veterinary diagnostics business, has been named as the winner of the “Production Animal” Animal Health Innovation Award 2021

Biotangents, a Scottish veterinary diagnostics business, has been named as the winner of the “Production Animal” Animal Health Innovation Award 2021, one of the most prestigious awards in the industry.

The AmpliSpec VET Mastitis system was recently selected by an international panel of experts at Animal Health Innovation Europe for its “on farm” technology that will dramatically cut the time taken to diagnose specific mastitis bacteria from up to a week to just 3 hours, bringing major improvements to the treatment and management of infected cattle.

The expert judging panel consisted of Simon Doherty (Veterinary surgeon and One Health and Sustainability expert), Laëtitia Gerbe, (Partner, Seventure), Joost Matthijssen (Director of Venturing, Nutreco), and Patricia Barclay (International Life Science lawyer and Business Mentor).

The new technology, which is being developed at Biotangents’ facility at the Pentlands Science Park just outside Edinburgh, will provide a specific pathogen diagnosis that can be carried out immediately, either on the farm or in a veterinary clinic and critically within the milking cycle enabling rapid and targeted treatment.

The impact of mastitis costs the global farming industry up to £23 billion each year, and the average dairy farm in the UK anywhere between £7,000 and £25,000 per year for every 100 animals.

The average rate of mastitis is highly variable from farm to farm and across different regions however data from a large scale study in the UK found clinical mastitis rates of 71 cases per 100 cows per year in the UK.

Rachel Mallet, veterinary surgeon and Director of Commercialisation from Biotangents said: “Rapid diagnosis on the farm and in the veterinary clinic is a step change in the treatment and prevention of mastitis and the consequent improvement in management. Critically it allows vets to promptly decide on the most effective treatment programme including selection of the right antibiotic for the correct duration where required, and lets farmers implement prompt procedures to minimise further infection within the herd.

“Mastitis is expensive for the farmer not only in terms of treatment costs and reduced production but also in terms of time. Animals with mastitis require additional monitoring, treatment time and they must be managed differently in the parlour.

“With an accurate diagnosis within 3 hours, farmers can differentiate between cows which require antibiotics and those which do not reducing the overall rate of antibiotic use on the farm. This will improve treatment outcomes and reduce the likelihood of recurrence all of which will reduce the overall prevalence of mastitis on the farm and enhance welfare, productivity, and sustainability.

Key milk producing regions globally encounter productivity challenges due to mastitis and Biotangents’ plan is to make this technology available to those regions including Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and South America.”

Ian Hamilton, Chairman at Biotangents and holder of a number of senior positions within the agricultural industry said: “Our Moduleic Sensing platform technology has been developed by our scientists in our laboratories in Edinburgh and while we are focussing on mastitis detection it can be applied to the detection of a wide range of diseases. We are keen to speak with partners who can assist in the roll out of the technology.”

The company secured £1.5 million in a successful and oversubscribed funding round in May 2019 led by the investment syndicate Kelvin Capital and is now preparing for a new round of investment to accelerate the roll out of the technology. Kelvin Capital represents private investors in the UK, Europe, and the USA.

John McNicol, director of Kelvin Capital said: “We have supported Biotangents since 2017 and have been delighted that their disruptive technology offering is launching and further enhancements in the months ahead will bring additional benefits the dairy sector and wider ArgiTech sector. Rapid diagnostic technology will not only bring financial benefits to farmers but will dramatically improve animal welfare and the sustainability of the herd. The next funding round later this year will assist the roll-out of the new AmpliSpec system into the veterinary and farming sectors and longer term the platform technology will be developed to support the diagnosis of many more diseases.”

For further information on Biotangents please visit the website.

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