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Mars Petcare Buys DNA Diagnostics Firm




The company specializes in canine inherited eye disorders.

BRUSSELS — Mars Petcare has 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 a biobank of more than 150,000 samples collected over 20 years representing various canine eye diseases. The samples will be used to discover new genetic health markers for dogs, according to a press release.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Through our pioneering 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’.”


With this acquisition, WISDOM PANEL genetic test kits will now be able to detect over 185 genetic disease mutations that will help breeders select the best breeding matches for genetically healthy offspring.

“DNA testing is the only way to detect carriers or affected puppies with late onset forms of inherited canine eye disorders,” said Cynthia Cole, 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 acquisition was finalized April 10. The companies will manage the transition over the course of 2018.

“This acquisition is a welcome and natural evolution of OptiGen’s 20 year history of working with conscientious dog owners, breeders, clubs and canine health registries around the world,” said Sue Pearce-Kelling, OptiGen’s president. “OptiGen’s and Wisdom Health’s shared commitment to providing the highest quality of DNA testing for dogs while also supporting research aimed at identifying new genetic markers for inherited diseases, as well as our mutual respect for intellectual property where it exists in the field, makes this an excellent fit.”

Earlier this year, Mars Petcare has acquired Genoscoper Laboratories, a specialist in molecular diagnostics for companion animals.




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