Edinburgh’s Roslin Technologies is to work with Destina Genomics in a new joint venture business, Vetsina Animal Diagnostics, aiming to develop a range of faster diagnostics for veterinary diseases including mastitis.

The partners believe that harnessing Destina’s human health diagnostics technology, one that does not rely on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, in animal agriculture will be both faster and cheaper, and enable its use in more remote rural areas.

“Vetsina will initially focus on the field of microRNAs (miRNA), the valuable biomarkers for infections, illness and disease,” says the company. “Currently, miRNA analysis requires PCR technology which brings significant capital equipment costs and technical limitations, including the 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. Studies in livestock have demonstrated the potential of miRNAs as biomarkers of mastitis, stress, energy balance and infectious disease.”

The new business will offer diagnostics based on the Destina system for human medicine that offers simple, fast, accurate and cost-effective products for the PCR-free detection of miRNAs. The technology allows samples to be prepared, shipped and stored without the need for refrigeration.

“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 commercialisation expertise of Roslin Technologies,” said Hugh Ilyine, CEO of DESTINA and Executive Director of Vetsina.

Roslin Technologies commercialises research findings from the Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, both based at the Easter Bush Campus in Edinburgh. Vetsina will be located within the Roslin Innovation Centre.