Biotangents is a veterinary diagnostics company open to new opportunities to improve pathogen detection.
Biotangents has developed Moduleic Sensing™, a proprietary molecular diagnostic technology that detects specific nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) sequences characteristic of a given disease, bringing laboratory quality molecular diagnostics to the farm or vet clinic in a simple to use, automated format.
The company has been awarded seed funding from CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock) to work with researchers at the Roslin Institute as part of the development of an in-clinic and on-farm diagnostic for Mastitis.
We spoke with Rachel Mallet, Director of Commercialisation:
What is the main purpose of Biotangents?
Biotangents is harnessing their expertise in molecular technology to create diagnostic solutions for livestock which can be utilised on-farm/in-clinic to improve welfare, profitability and sustainability.
The company is designing the next generation of molecular diagnostics based on Moduleic Sensing™, a highly configurable proprietary platform for diagnostic technology in the lab, veterinary clinic and on the farm.
We are a strong team of ten, including four PhD-qualified scientists, supported by an internationally renowned board.
What is your career path?
I graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in 2012 before moving into clinical practice in the North East of England where my interest in preventative medicine grew.
In 2014 I joined Bimeda Animal Health, initially as a territory manager before progressing to professional services vet. This was a diverse role allowing me to gain experience in sales, marketing, technical support and business strategy.
I joined Biotangents in March 2020, excited by the potential of the technology to improve the welfare of livestock which is something I am passionate about. As Director of Commercialisation and a veterinary surgeon I am responsible for sales and marketing activity in addition to proving livestock advisory support. This includes commercialising products in our existing pipeline and securing strategic partnerships to facilitate new opportunities.
What are your career highlights to date?
My passion is livestock health and welfare, particularly the provision of preventative medicine on the herd/flock level. This is an area where I received distinction grades in my studies.
In clinical practice I was nominated for ‘New graduate of the year’ for my competence in surgical skills and building relationships with clients.
Control of external parasites in sheep focuses increasingly on injectables products (which also act as wormers) due to their ease of use. As a result, sheep are being exposed to wormers unnecessarily when only external parasites require treatment which in turn will increase the rate of development of resistance. This is something I felt compelled to act on and I deployed a nationwide parasite control roadshow focusing on strategic use of medicines.
This led to the facilitation of an independent sheep dipper accreditation scheme which involved collaboration across various parties including government, farming and veterinary bodies.
What does the future hold?
Biotangents is currently preparing for the launch of our first commercial product in March 2021- AmpliSpec™ LAB BVD (Bovine Viral Diarrhoea).
BVD is a widespread viral disease of cattle causing severe reproductive and production losses. It is a global problem estimated to cost the agricultural industry £9.2bn p.a., with losses of up to £470 per animal in the UK. High volume laboratory testing is being driven by national disease control schemes. AmpliSpec™ LAB BVD does not require expensive equipment and has a simpler and faster workflow than existing methods, allowing labs to improve efficiency and provide results more quickly to their customers.
Following this, our R&D resource will be focused on the development of our on-farm/in-clinic diagnostic solution which will allow veterinary surgeons and farmers to differentiate between the most common mastitis pathogens within 3 hours. Mastitis is the costliest infectious disease of adult dairy cattle, costing £14-23bn p.a. globally. It reduces milk quality and yield, costing £70-250 per animal per year.
In addition to all of our exciting innovations, we’re currently preparing for our next round of investment which is due to close in Q2 2021.
Why did Biotangents choose to locate to a science park?
Our location within Midlothian Science Zone, on Pentlands Science Park, affords us proximity to global specialists in animal health research, such as our neighbours at Moredun Research Institute who are internationally recognised for their expertise in the sector.
This has been instrumental in accessing research, building relationships and creating partnerships across the animal health industry which raise brand awareness of Biotangents.
What are the benefits of 'park' environment?
Being part of the park community offers many benefits including, for example, a canteen, access to meeting facilities with high quality equipment, strong security and access to shared equipment.
The reception area and team at Pentlands Science Park is of particularly advantage. This creates a good impression for visitors, particularly in the early stages of our company foundation.
What do you enjoy most about being based in Midlothian?
Working in Midlothian offers an excellent work life balance for our employees located across central Scotland and has the best of both worlds in terms of city and rural life. The view from the park to the Pentlands is spectacular.
Pentlands Science Park
Midlothian, EH26 0PL
t: +44 (0)131 514 0871
Media enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pentlands Science Park
- Bush Loan
- Midlothian, EH26 0PZ
Park Manager: Jill Gayford
T: +44 (0)131 445 5111
Midlothian Science Zone
- Roslin Innovation Centre
- The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Campus
- Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Scotland
Enquiries: Project Team
T: +44 (0)131 651 9000