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Vetsina-Edinburgh-University-Bush-Campus-1200x696.jpg Vetsina
Edinburgh University Bush Campus.

New veterinary biomarker company launched

Vetsina Animal Diagnostics launched to improve speed of diagnosis and facilitate development of point-of-care veterinary products.

Roslin Technologies and Destina Genomics have joined forces to launch a new company that will offer significant developments in animal treatment and care.

In particular, the new venture — Vetsina Animal Diagnostics — will create solutions around the speed of testing, the ability to detect low concentrations of biomarkers, the utility of existing laboratory equipment and the ability to transport samples from remote locations, according to the announcement.

Vetsina will initially focus on the field of microRNAs — the valuable biomarkers for infections, illness and disease. Currently, microRNA analysis requires polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, with significant capital equipment costs and technical limitations, including refrigeration of samples and transport issues. This has a major impact on access to modern diagnostic modalities in many veterinary and animal situations, including large herds and remote locations, the company said.

Destina has developed a revolutionary chemical-based system for detecting nucleic acids and single nucleotide polymorphisms for the development of simple, fast, accurate and cost-effective products for PCR-free detection of microRNAs in human medicine.

Vetsina, which will be based at the Roslin Innovation Center, has a unique patented chemistry that detects tissue and disease-specific microRNAs in small-volume samples with no amplification required. It has also developed a buffer system that stabilizes target microRNAs in plasma and serum at room temperature, which enables sample preparation, shipment and storage without need for refrigeration, the company said.

Destina is working on a range of targets in various human diseases; some of these will translate into the animal space, and these will be Vetsina’s first targets, the announcement said.

Vetsina will also research the animal diagnostics arena to focus on targets based on market need, technical feasibility and the development of a balanced portfolio.

Destina has provided Vetsina with an exclusive worldwide sub-license to its intellectual property for the development of technology in the veterinary and animal health areas, the announcement said.

Roslin Technologies is supporting the new company through its access to innovation and intellectual property from the University of Edinburgh and The Roslin Institute, which have expertise in the microRNA arena through the medical, veterinary and chemistry schools related to animal health and veterinary science.

“We are excited by the huge potential of this new company which will apply Destina’s unique, patented technology for detecting nucleic acids by developing diagnostics tests for the animal health and veterinary arena, in combination with the animal health and commercialization expertise of Roslin Technologies,” said Destina chief executive officer Hugh Ilyine, who also serves as executive director of Vetsina.

“Many microRNAs are tissue or developmental stage specific, which presents the opportunity to use them as non-invasive biomarkers of tissue function associated with a variety of physiological states (e.g., pregnancy) and diseases (e.g., neoplasia, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and infections)," Ilyine said. "MicroRNA-based platforms are already being developed for clinical diagnosis of human cancer and other conditions. Studies in livestock have demonstrated the potential of microRNAs as biomarkers of mastitis, stress, energy balance and infectious disease.

“Vetsina will bring added value to these tests through direct-detection technology to improve the speed of diagnosis and facilitate the development of reference laboratory and point-of-care products,” he added.

Roslin Technologies is a technology commercialization company based on the University of Edinburgh's Easter Bush Campus in Scotland. The company was created to develop commercial opportunities from the research, know-how, capabilities and intellectual property of The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

Destina Genomics Ltd. is a biotechnology company founded in Edinburgh, U.K., in 2011 to focus on the application and validation of patented state-of-the-art technologies.

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