Delta Genetics sells livestock genotyping services

Research: News Roundup from the February 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Canada’s first complete DNA laboratory dedicated to livestock has sold its genotyping services in order to expand the livestock industry’s use of genomic technologies.

Delta Genomics Centre announced in early January that its genotyping services were sold to Neogen Canada Inc. Neogen’s acquisition is projected to provide genomic services at a more affordable price, in turn increasing adoption of these technologies in the Canadian livestock industry, according to a press release from Delta Genomics.

“Canadian livestock producers and researchers now have the opportunity to leverage the buying power and economies of scale already established by Neogen,” said Graham Plastow, chair of Delta’s board of directors and CEO of the University of Alberta’s Livestock Gentec Centre. “Because of this, the majority of service costs can be decreased.”

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This sale, he continued, will also ensure the centre’s “ability to work with researchers, including Livestock Gentec, to develop new genomic applications for the sector — for example, EnVigourHX — essentially using the results generated from genomics to identify new tools to support producers.”

Plastow explained that the team at Delta will continue working with its customers. “The main change will be reduced pricing on existing services. There may be other small changes; however, the transfer of Neogen Canada operations to Edmonton was an important aspect we took into account in evaluating the deal in terms of our customers.”

The operation of Delta’s laboratory in Edmonton, Alta., will continue under the Neogen Canada name, becoming the fifth animal genomics laboratory that Neogen operates across the globe. Michelle Miller, the current CEO of Delta Genomics, has been appointed Neogen Canada’s new general manager. The transition period will continue until the end of April, Plastow reported.

“The majority of transition activities are centred around the Neogen Canada team learning and implementing Neogen’s processes here at the facility in Canada,” he said.

Neogen Canada Inc. is a subsidiary of Neogen Corporation, which creates products related to animal health care and food safety. Among other areas, the company’s animal safety division focuses on the development of genomic technologies.

Before the asset sale, Delta Genomics and researchers at Livestock Gentec worked with Neogen and companies the latter acquired, such as Igenity and GeneSeek, on the services they provided.

“This included support for research and licensing of technology. Although most of these interactions were older, it means that we have built up relationships and trust with their teams over a long period of time,” said Plastow.

“More recently after Delta was spun out of the U of A, Delta and Neogen worked together to ensure Canadian beef producers had access to the same genomic tools as American beef producers through a distribution agreement.”

Established in 2011 as a national, not-for-profit facility, Delta Genomics provides genomic testing services for both livestock producers and researchers. This includes genotyping, genetic profiling, parentage verification and diagnostic testing. In addition to offering genetic testing for sheep, swine, goats and poultry, the facility is known for its genetic services for cattle. It recently introduced EnVigour HX, which is marketed as the first genomics tool for crossbred beef cattle in Canada.

About the author

Field editor

Piper Whelan is a field editor with Canadian Cattlemen. She grew up on a purebred, Maine-Anjou ranch near Irricana, Alta., and previously wrote for Top Stock, Western Horse Review, and various beef breed publications.

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