The company uses proprietary technology developed at the University of Nottingham which can quickly and accurately detect the presence of mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium bovis (bovine TB) and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP; Johne’s disease), both of which can have serious impacts on the agricultural industry, including both morbidity among cattle and sheep with severe financial loss.
Formerly applied to the diagnosis of tuberculosis in humans, the technology has now been transformed for the veterinary sector such that results can be delivered within 6 hours of sample receipt. The technology is able to differentiate between viable and non-viable organisms at high sensitivity. This means that unlike current tests, which monitor an immune response, the tests are able to directly detect animals carrying live infectious organisms. The test has been shown to be equally accurate in milk and blood and can be applied to multiple animal hosts including deer, goats, camelids and a range of exotic species as well as cattle and sheep.
The company has secured an exclusive commercialisation licence to the underpinning intellectual property from the University of Nottingham and is in the process of securing seed investment to launch prototype manufacture. The technology has obvious applicability in disease control but can also be used in the food industry particularly where unpasteurised milk is used for cheese manufacture.
Dr Berwyn Clarke, CEO of PBD Biotech, said: “We now have an excellent technology platform with a wide range of commercial applications for the veterinary, agricultural and food sectors in areas where there is crucial need for improved diagnosis. Bovine TB is a serious problem for farmers costing around £500m in the UK alone, but through a simple and easy to use test, this problem can be much more efficiently controlled. In addition, the test has a number of additional uses, including potential in food.”