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Mars Petcare acquires OptiGen, LLC
The acquisition includes an extensive biobank of more than 150,000 samples collected over two decades.

Acquisition includes licenses to a portfolio of genetic disease tests

Mars Petcare has taken possession of OptiGen LLC, A DNA diagnostics company specialising in canine inherited eye disorders.

The acquisition includes exclusive licenses to a portfolio of genetic disease tests patented in the U.S, Australia and a number of European countries. It also includes an extensive biobank of more than 150,000 samples collected over two decades, representing various canine eye diseases.

Mars Petcare said they will use the samples to find new genetic health markers for dogs.  
"Through our pioneering Wisdom Health business, Mars Petcare is leading the discovery of new genetic markers for pet health. As our scientists seek to improve the understanding of the genetic basis of pet health and disease, this acquisition will contribute to the development of personalized veterinary care," said Leonid Sudakov, president of Connected Solutions at Mars Petcare.

"We see our continued efforts to contribute to the ground-breaking companion animal genetics science as a great way to deliver on our purpose: 'A Better World for Pets'."

Cynthia Cole, general manager of Wisdom Health at Mars Petcare added: "We're at a pivotal time in companion animal genetic research, and with this acquisition, we will add to the growing body of knowledge to help veterinarians' ability to predict and treat inherited eye disorders for dogs."

"This acquisition is a welcome and natural evolution of OptiGen's 20-year history of working with conscientious dog owners, breeders, clubs and canine health registries around the world," said Sue Pearce-Kelling, OptiGen's President.

"OptiGen's and Wisdom Health's shared commitment to providing the highest quality of DNA testing for dogs while also supporting research aimed at identifying new genetic markers for inherited diseases, as well as our mutual respect for intellectual property where it exists in the field, makes this an excellent fit."

Mars Petcare acquired OptiGen on 10 April 218 and the companies will manage the transition over the course of 2018. 

Image (C) Mars Petcare

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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”