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Scots Firm Begins Early Heart Disease Detection Service For Cats And Dogs

3 weeks ago

2nd September, 2021 18h55


An award-winning Scottish start-up company has begun the first commercial phase of a diagnostic service that detects early-stage heart disease in companion animals.

Founded in 2019, MI:RNA Ltd is a biotech venture that has spun out of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

It is hoped that NEMO (NExtgen Mirna testing with Optimisation) will be a big step forward for veterinary diagnostics.

Based near Edinburgh, MI:RNA aims to tackle the lack of reliable testing for early-stage disease, beginning with a heart disease test for cats and dogs which can accurately identify diseased versus non-diseased patients, at a pre-symptomatic stage, with a simple blood sample.

Using biomarkers with a bespoke AI model, the test has the potential to revolutionise veterinary diagnostics by allowing much earlier detection of disease.

Further research and development is under way to adapt the novel testing technology for use in the production animal market, initially targeting Johne’s disease in cattle, which could have huge economic and environmental benefits.

The company also plans to offer cardiac testing for the equine market.

CEO Dr Eve Hanks said: “The next few months are incredibly exciting for MI:RNA Ltd as we launch our first product. Our team has pulled together to work towards a successful launch and, luckily, we have a great veterinary community behind us. We will continue our relationship with SRUC as we begin our production animal research and identify new disease targets.”

The business has an international outlook and intends to expand globally to help owners, farmers, animals, and the environment.

The initial test launched by MI:RNA focusses on utilising blood samples from animals, but has the potential to be used with milk, faeces, urine or saliva, which could make mass testing in the agricultural sector more efficient and cost effective.

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