Mastaplex Ltd is poised to become a leading provider of point-of-care diagnostic tests for mastitis in dairy cows, supporting veterinarians and farmers around the globe with antibiotic treatment decisions. The company’s products and services support disease management, improved food quality, and combat against antimicrobial resistance.
Bovine mastitis is predominantly treated using antibiotics. Mastitis treatment is the largest single use for animal health antibiotics. Slow/inaccurate diagnosis makes mastitis treatment costly and very inefficient, and leads to overuse of antibiotic treatments, exacerbating antibiotic resistance issues. There are currently no effective and timely tools for diagnosing mastitis in dairy cows.
Global Market Need
The development of antibiotics has increased our life expectancy by 20 years. Yet the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is threatening to make them ineffective. The global GDP loss due to AMR will accumulate to US$100 trillion by 2050. The challenge is to create cost-effective, accurate, and easy-to-use tests for bacterial infections for human and animal health applications that will enable health practitioners to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.
Global dairy industry expansion has created challenges in disease management and maintaining milk quality. International pressures are significantly increasing over treatments with antibiotics from residues and resistance development. These challenges have led to international initiatives to restrict antibiotic use and seek more precise diagnoses before antibiotic treatment.
Mastatest® is a unique and novel approach to on-site mastitis diagnosis. The Mastatest™ platform includes three components: a consumable, a hardware component, and a software/analytics component:
- Mastatest® consumable sample cartridge.
- Lapbox™ mobile incubator and optical data capture device.
- Mastaplex Cloud software & analytics.
Mastatest® has been successfully clinically tested and independently validated in the New Zealand market. The test identifies the bacterial infection, bacteria type, and measures the antibiotic sensitivity of the mastitis-causing organism, providing the basis for automated optimal antibiotic treatment recommendations. Results are seamlessly uploaded to the cloud and reported directly back to the farmer or vet so the appropriate antibiotic treatment can be selected for each cow - i.e. one specific to the pathogenic organism and its sensitivity profile. Mastatest® also enables data capture and analysis for use in monitoring of antibiotic susceptibility regionally, nationally and globally. This unique monitoring/surveillance database around antibiotic susceptibility and other related animal & disease information will be made available via the cloud, through a subscription scheme. Future products in development include diagnostics for subclinical mastitis and dry off period, related animal species diagnostics (goats, sheep, pigs), and DNA-based diagnostics.
Click here to view a video of the product and how the Mastatest works.
Bovine mastitis is an endemic global problem, prevalent in all major dairy producing countries. The economic impact of mastitis to the global dairy industry is estimated at approximately $35b, and the disease is estimated to cost the average dairy farmer around $60,000 per year. Mastitis is the largest single driver of antibiotic use in the production animal health sector. The directly addressable market for bovine mastitis diagnostics is estimated at $750m per year. Key global markets include Europe, the US, and New Zealand/Australia.
The Mastaplex products are currently in use in the New Zealand market and can be easily adapted to other global markets. Key customers will likely include farmers, veterinarians, animal health companies, universities/research organisations, regulatory bodies and health organisations such as World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
Mastaplex’s key channels to market will include veterinarians who will use this test in their clinics as well as selling this diagnostic to farmers. We have been working closely with three major New Zealand veterinary clinics, including one that is regarded as a global key opinion leader on bovine mastitis.
We will pursue global distribution arrangements with global animal health companies to market and sell our products into international markets. We are engaged in active ongoing discussions with 6 out of the top 10 global animal health companies to discuss global distribution arrangements for Mastatest®. We are targeting the first of these agreements to be place by the end of Q2 2017.
Mastaplex will build and operate in-house production facilities for the manufacture of Mastatest®. Currently, production is carried out with external contract manufacturers, but an in-house production facility will be established by early 2018.
Competition includes several key groups of technologies, or approaches, including:
- Veterinarian diagnosis – where a qualified veterinarian makes a diagnosis based on visual examination of an infected animal.
- Off-site laboratory testing – where a milk sample, or samples, is taken and sent to an accredited independent laboratory for testing.
- Simple diagnostic screening indicators – where a milk sample is taken and ‘quick tested’ to screen for a potential indicator of disease, and then used to determine whether further definitive testing is required.
Mastaplex’s on-farm mastitis diagnostic test key advantages over current mastitis diagnostic tools:
- Quality: clinically proven lab-grade diagnosis on the farm.
- Simplicity: no technical know-how required.
- Better: three answers in one (bacterial infection, bacteria type, antibiotic sensitivity).
- Faster: within 24 hours vs 3-5 days.
- Digital: results, recommendations direct to farmers’ inbox.
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Overview as at October 2017
CEO: Dr Olaf Bork
Dr Bork is a trained German process engineer with many years of industry experience in the research and development of bioactive delivery systems. Dr Bork combines this with research commercialisation experience, having worked in technology transfer at Bayer in Germany until 2008 and as an innovation manager heading the Bayer Centre for Dairy Animal Health (Pharmaceutical Science and Product Innovations) at the University of Otago/School of Pharmacy.
Executive Chairman: Colin Harvey, Harvey Investment Fund Ltd
Colin Harvey is recognized for making a major contributions to the New Zealand agricultural industry. Colin Harvey was the former CEO and founder of Ancare and he built that company. It had significant market share across several animal health categories in the face of strong competition. The trading assets of Ancare were sold to Merial in 2007 and in 2014 Merial acquired the remaining R&D assets of Ancare which had been operated by Colin as a separate development company.
Director: Jon Sandbrook, WNT Ventures
Jon has a background as a corporate strategist, consultant and executive focusing on growing companies primarily in the agriculture, food, small business finance and biotechnology sectors. Jon spent almost a decade in the USA in roles in a small business investment fund, a specialist biotechnology consulting firm, and most recently led an animal health biotechnology start-up specialising in vaccines and diagnostics development to a strategic deal with a global animal health company. Before moving to the USA, Jon led the corporate strategy function for New Zealand Stated Owned Enterprise AsureQuality Ltd.