Mars hopes to advance precision healthcare for pets.
Mars Petcare has acquired Genoscoper Laboratories, a specialist in molecular diagnostics for companion animals.
The acquisition "will accelerate the pace of discoveries in genetics, to form the basis for future practical applications in enabling precision healthcare for pets," according to a Mars Petcare press release.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Mars Petcare's genetic testing unit Wisdom Health produces the breed-detection test WISDOM PANEL. Finland-based Genoscoper, in partnership with University of Helsinki, created the genetic health testing platform MyDogDNA. Since 2015, Genoscoper and Wisdom Health have partnered to discover new genetic health markers for companion animals and recently launched WISDOM PANEL Health for dogs, combining breed ancestry with detection of potential inherited health conditions.
There is also a new test, OPTIMAL SELECTION Feline, developed by Wisdom Health and Genoscoper for cat breeders to identify more than 40 genetically associated conditions, over 20 traits, and genetic diversity information which can help identify potential mates through genetic compatibility.
"Our world-class genetics research is focused on helping pet owners and veterinarians improve the health of pets with tools that define their genetic predispositions for health and disease. Ultimately this will enable targeted and preventive veterinary care with pets getting individualized nutrition, exercise and treatment," said Leonid Sudakov, president, connected solutions, Mars Petcare. "This is a critical time in the development of genetic testing for pets, which we believe is poised to expand dramatically as breeders, veterinarians and pet owners increasingly understand its benefits, exactly as it is currently happening for humans."
The acquisition was finalized on Dec. 27, and the companies will manage the transition over the course of 2018.
"Through Genoscoper's strong research expertise in companion animal genomics, we developed a unique concept that brings top level academic discoveries into practice enabling even further advances; not only scientifically speaking, but for the benefit of entire animal populations," said professor Hannes Lohi, chairman of Genoscoper and leader of the University of Helsinki canine genetics research group. "Our long-term vision has been to adopt the biggest advances in canine genetics research to improve animal welfare, and that exactly is where I see this partnership leading."