Veterinary medicines project secures venture capital funding

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Scientists from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Ulster University (UU) have teamed up to develop a system that makes the process of recording drug use on farms hassle-free, while providing valuable data to the agri-food industry Provides.

The application they created has been funded to support further development to bring it to market.

The SeaMless Antibiotic Reporting (SMART) system was developed to collect data on animal and drug consumption in real time. The team recently secured a spot in the DigiSpark program and received £ 10,000 for conducting further market research to develop the concept, followed by an additional £ 20,000 for advancing the innovation in a “Best Potential Spinout” award.

The lead researchers Dr. Steven Morrison and Dr. AFBI’s Aimee Craig recently met with Dr. Patrick Dunlop and Dr. Gennday Lubarsky from the School of Engineering at Ulster University, who brought their wealth of experience in human healthcare technology to the project.

During the eight-week “market discovery phase”, the SMART team worked with a wide range of agro-food stakeholders to find ways to increase the impact of the SMART tool.

The DigiSpark program also provided Aimee and Patrick with an opportunity to learn from other leading researchers from around the world at the 5th International Conference on the Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Animals

The highlight of the market discovery tour was the opportunity to host leading veterinarians, farmers, processors, governments and consumers for a “Design Sprint” where issues, benefits, opportunities and ideas for the SMART system were discussed directly.

At the end of the DigiSpark program, Aimee presented itself again to leading tech start-up investors, Techstart Ventures, Helix Hub and the ECIT Institute.

As a result, the SMART team was delighted to be one of two teams to win the £ 20,000 Best Potential Spinout award to drive their innovation.

Dr. Simon Doherty (Queen’s University Belfast), who has joined the team in an advisory capacity, commented: “The funding will help develop an innovative platform for capturing data at the pen.

“If you know what you use and how, you can set appropriate goals to reduce, refine and replace these products in the context of sustainable animal husbandry.”

The team is now seeking further funding from Invest NI to field test its prototype before it goes to market. Watch this room!