Mars Petcare Acquisition of Genoscoper to Accelerate Discovery of Genetic Health Markers for Companion Animals

Mars Petcare 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.
Mars Petcare’s genetic testing unit Wisdom Health is a pioneer in this field with its market leading breed detection testWISDOM PANEL[TM]. Finland-based Genoscoper, in close 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 have recently launched a new product for dogs, WISDOM PANEL™ Health, combining breed ancestry with detection of potential inherited health conditions.
“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.”
“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 theUniversity 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.”
The acquisition was finalized on 27 December 2017, and the companies will manage the transition over the course of 2018.
A few of the benefits of genetic testing include:

  • Genetic tests can detect which animals might be carriers for specific diseases, so breeders can avoid mating them with another carrier.
  • Genetic testing can also identify mixed-breed dogs at risk for developing a genetic condition that may otherwise go undiagnosed; allowing the owner to be counselled as to how to best manage the condition.
  • WISDOM PANEL™ canine DNA tests can also provide details about a dog’s breed ancestry fulfilling many owners’ curiosities about their dog’s heritage, but it may be especially revealing for dogs who work with the emergency services or as support animals.
  • 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.