Mars Petcare acquired OptiGen LLC, a DNA diagnostics company specializing in canine inherited eye disorders. Included in the acquisition are exclusive licenses to a portfolio of genetic disease tests patented in the U.S., Australia, and many countries in Europe, and an extensive biobank of more than 150,000 samples collected over 20 years representing various canine eye diseases. Moving forward these samples will be used to discover new genetic health markers for dogs.
With this acquisition, Wisdom Panel genetic test kits will now be able to detect more than 185 genetic disease mutations that will help breeders select the best breeding matches for genetically healthy offspring.
“Through our Wisdom Health business, Mars Petcare is leading the discovery of new genetic markers for pet health,” said Leonid Sudakov, president of Connected Solutions, the global ventures, consumer technology, and genetics division of Mars Petcare. “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. 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.”
“DNA testing is the only way to detect carriers or affected puppies with late onset forms of inherited canine eye disorders,” said Cynthia Cole, DVM, Ph.D., DACVCP, general manager of Wisdom Health, Mars Petcare’s companion animal genetics business. “Working with breeders, we can help decrease the incidence of these disorders in the future. 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.”
The initial products to incorporate these genetic tests for canine eye disorders will be Optimal Selection and My Dog DNA designed for breeding dogs.
The acquisition was finalized 10 April 2018, and the companies will manage the transition over the course of 2018.