Diagnostic testing kits for vets, farmers and pet owners to improve animal health

Issued: Fri, 17 Aug 2007 16:14:00 BST

New diagnostic testing kits developed by the University of Glasgow - which could improve the lives of thousands of pets and animals through early detection of disease - are to be made widely available to vets, farmers and pet owners for the first time.

Spin-out company ReactivLab is to commercialise the new animal health diagnostic technology developed in the University’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. ReactivLab will provide services and kits that can detect sub-clinical symptoms of inflammation, infection and disease in both companion and farm animals.  These tests can allow pet owners or farmers to know if their animal is unwell before any visible symptoms appear enabling early intervention with the best treatment.

IP Group plc, the intellectual property commercialisation company, has invested £450,000 in ReactivLab Ltd for a 33.2% stake.vet with dog

ReactivLab’s new diagnostic approach exploits blood proteins known as acute phase proteins (APPs). Acute phase proteins (APP) are a group of blood proteins that change in concentration in animals subjected to challenges such as infection, inflammation, surgical trauma or stress. Quantification of their concentration can provide diagnostic and prognostic information. The university have identified specific APPs (and combinations) that act as biomarkers to detect the presence of disease or poor health before visible symptoms appear.

Professor David Eckersall, scientific founder of ReactivLab, is a world-leading researcher in the area of acute phase proteins in animals co-ordinating the European Concerted Action Group on Acute Proteins in Animals.  He has specialised in this field for over 20 years and has presented the findings of his work at international scientific meetings throughout the world. He is a Professor of Veterinary Biochemistry at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Glasgow and has been responsible for many of the major advances in monitoring the APP response in domestic animals such as dogs, cats, cattle and pigs.  He has also invented novel methods for analysis and discovered new applications for the diagnostic use of APP showing the benefit of measuring the proteins in a variety of conditions including bovine mastitis and pneumonia, feline infectious peritonitis and canine leukaemia. 

ReactivLab will exploit this research and provide services in diagnostic testing for acute phase proteins. For example, blood samples from dogs and cats can be analysed to assist in the very early diagnosis of diseases such as arthritis, cancer and various infectious diseases. Diagnostic kits are also planned to make the approach available world-wide.

APP testing will not only give the opportunity for vets to intervene with treatments before a condition has advanced significantly they will also provide animal owners with a means to monitor animal health on a regular basis.

ReactivLab is the third spin-out from IP Group’s partnership with the University of Glasgow which was announced in October 2006. The first two companies from the collaboration are XanIC Limited, which is commercialising a new semiconductor process technology, and Wireless bioDevices Limited, which was established to commercialise wireless sensor technology for use in medical diagnostics.

The diagnostic test technology has already received Synergy Fund investment via a £200,000 loan from the Fund to the University for pre-incorporation development.  Synergy Fund is a Glasgow/Strathclyde university Fund managed by Scottish Equity Partners (SEP). ReactivLab has also received a Scottish Executive SMART Award.

Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive of IP Group, said: “We are delighted with the progress being made at Glasgow. ReactivLab is the first spin-out we have completed in the exciting and growth area of animal health but is the third spin-out from Glasgow within the first year that IP Group partnered with the University.”

Prof Steve Beaumont, VP Research & Enterprise, commented: “The University is very pleased that research carried out on our internationally renowned Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has led to a spinout that will assist in the diagnosis of diseases in animals. This substantial investment from IP Group in addition to earlier support from the Synergy Fund recognises the confidence we have in the future success of the business. As we expected our collaboration with IP Group has accelerated our spin-out process and we are delighted to announce the formation of a third company so soon after our partnership was launched.”

Prof David Eckersall, Director, ReactivLabs, said: “Establishing ReactivLab will allow the acute phase protein tests to become widely available so that instead of being restricted to our research programmes their full benefit in being able to detect even sub clinical disease in dogs and cats will be available to the pet owning community at large.”

Further information:

IP Group plc      020 7444 0050
Alan Aubrey, Chief Executive Officer
Liz Vaughan-Adams (communications)  020 7444 0062/07979853802

Buchanan Communications    020 7466 5000
Mark Court, Tim Anderson, Mary-Jane Johnson

University of Glasgow
Professor Steve Beaumont, Vice Principal, Research & Enterprise
0141 330 2112
Martin Shannon, Media Relations Officer
0141 330 8593


IP Group

IP Group Plc is an intellectual property (IP) commercialisation company that specialises in commercialising university technology. Founded in 2001, IP Group listed on AIM in October 2003 and moved to the Official List in June 2006. It has made two acquisitions to date – Techtran, a company set up to commercialise university intellectual property under a long term contract with the University of Leeds, in 2005 and Top Technology Ventures, an investment adviser to early stage technology venture capital funds, in 2004.

IP Group has formed long-term partnerships with ten universities – the University of Oxford, King’s College London, CNAP/University of York, the University of Leeds, the University of Bristol, the University of Surrey, the University of Southampton, Queen Mary (University of London), the University of Bath and the University of Glasgow.

As at 31 December 2006, 53 spin-out companies had been created among IP Group’s university partners. Of those, eight have listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, one on PLUS Markets and there have been two trade sales. IP Group also has three 'Modern-themed' subsidiaries – Modern Biosciences, Modern Water and Modern Waste. Modern Water was the first of these subsidiaries to float on AIM in June 2007.

For more information, please visit the IP Group website at http://www.ipgroupplc.com/

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is one of the UK's leading universities with an international reputation for its research and teaching and an important role in the cultural and commercial life of the country.

With almost 16,000 undergraduate and 4,000 postgraduate students, it is one of the country's largest universities. Employing 5,700 staff, it is a major employer in the city and, with an annual turnover of £285M, it makes a substantial contribution to the local economy. The University’s world-class research base includes pioneering work in the fields of medicine, engineering, ethics, physics, and astronomy. The University is also leading the way in ultramodern disciplines like bioelectronics, cell signaling, nanotechnology, and optoelectronics.

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