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Isomark Advancing Non-Invasive Pathogen Detection Technology For Cattle

Sep 29, 2021 - IHS Markit

US start-up Isomark Health expects to complete refinement work on its breath detection diagnostic device by the end of this year.

Isomark claims to offer a “unique and state-of-the-art platform technology” for early detection of infection involving a wide range of pathogens, such as bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Its initial target market in animal health is cattle.

Speaking at the recent Kansas City Animal Health Corridor 2021 Digital Animal Health Summit, chief executive and founder of Isomark Fariba Assadi-Porter highlighted bovine respiratory disease on feedlots alone costs producers $1 billion a year. She explained disease is currently detected on feedlots through well-trained workers that identify sick animals, which is subjective, costly and time-consuming, with animals often only identifiable in the later stages of infection. Blood sampling is another detection method but is usually carried out after symptoms are observable and can be a slow, costly and invasive approach.

Isomark claims to offer a low-cost, fast and automated way of early and pre-symptomatic detection. Its non-invasive Canary-Ag technology assesses the breath of animals to detect pathogens as early as a few hours after infection. It gives near real-time results in as fast as 30 seconds and is an automated technology that can be linked to animal management software.

The firm currently has two prototypes of its technology in development. One is wall-mounted and the other is mobile battery-powered. The testing unit is comprised of a handheld mask that fits over an animal’s nostrils to capture their breath, alongside an analytical machine. The technology is streamlined with animal tracking ear tags. The machine delivers a red or green output, which indicates non-healthy and healthy animals respectively, to enable further examination of sick animals and prevent them from entering a feedlot.

Isomark believes its solution is cost-effective, with the firm offering an annual subscription model that enables the testing of 100,000 cattle per year. This will be available in two tiers: Base, which identifies sick animals and is the firm’s market entry model; and Silver, which the company is working on to also identify the specific type of infection (i.e., bacteria/virus).

The firm has already completed two studies of its technology, one on a feedlot (December 2020) and one on a dairy farm (July 2021). A pilot study of the second infection type facet of Canary-Ag’s detection capacity is underway and expected to be completed before the end of 2021.

Dr Assadi-Porter explained Isomark aims to bring its technology to production animal health, before moving to veterinary hospitals and clinics. The company has an exclusive license with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, as well as five patents issued and one pending.

To date, Isomark has benefited from private funding of $2.1 million and has secured $2.55m in grants. It has two agricultural partners to back the testing of its prototype devices (Darr Feedlot and Green Valley Dairy).

Isomark projects the total addressable market for its technology is worth $2.3bn. The firm believes its targeted sales adoption at $1.70 per test – in the accessible market of the top 10 biggest feedlots in the US – could capture $20m in annual sales by 2024. This is excluding potential market expansions to other settings such as clinics and other species. Isomark already has sensitivity and specificity data for its technology in human health applications.

Dr Assadi-Porter said: “Our company’s mission is to improve animal health through early detection of infectuion. Our long-term vision is to become the gold-standard. Infections are costly and if not detected early, they can result in morbidity and mortality, at a huge cost to industry.”

Reprinted with permission of IHS Markit




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