Vetsina: Who we are
Developing new animal health diagnostic testing technologies
Vetsina is a new company formed by DESTINA Genomics and Roslin Technologies to develop innovative diagnostics for animal health and veterinary use.
The new tests will be based on DESTINA Genomics’ patented, chemical-based molecular diagnostic system that can directly detect tissue- and disease-specific RNA and microRNA biomarkers in biological fluids. Vetsina will also have access under its exclusive licence to DESTINA’s proprietary stabilisation buffer system, Stabiltech™. This transformative technology blocks degradation of target miRNAs in plasma and serum, which means that enabling samples can be prepared, shipped, and stored and then analysed without requiring refrigeration.
Together, Vetsina will develop these new technologies to form the basis of a new animal health diagnostic testing portfolio. The first assays will be launched for reference laboratory use, but the company ambition is to also develop cost effective point of care systems where indicated.
Roslin Technologies is a technology commercialisation company based at Easter Bush Campus in the University of Edinburgh. It was created to develop the commercial opportunities presented by the research and intellectual property of the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies. Vetsina will use this significant expertise in RNA and microRNA research and animal diagnostics to deliver veterinary solutions that will positively impact animal health and welfare.
Board of Directors
A qualified veterinarian, Jacqui has worked in animal health for over 30 years. Until 2019, she was based in academia, where she led research programmes supported by >£13 million competitive funding. These projects had wide industry impact relating to livestock infectious disease and generated >140 associated peer-reviewed publications and many lay articles. During this period, she developed, from first principles, a diagnostic test for small redworm in horses, which was commercialised in 2019.
In 2017, she was awarded Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Fellowship and Elsevier’s International Journal for Parasitology Award. Jacqui is a RCVS Recognised Specialist (Parasitology) and Honorary Professor at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and currently has a ministerial appointment on the UK Veterinary Products Committee and sits on two UKRI BBSRC Committees.
In 2019, she moved to Roslin Technologies, where she leads on Strategic Partnerships and manages the R&D programme, bringing scientific innovations to the agri and animal health sectors. She has a strong commercial awareness, combined with a long track record in translational science, project development, Board & Committee engagement, and public speaking.
David Whitcombe has more than 10 years of academic research and 15 years in industrial R&D. David has produced a number of publications and patents including the Scorpions technology that formed the basis of his start-up business DxS Ltd in 2000. He was Head of Technology Development at AstraZeneca Diagnostics for four years leading a team focused on developing new genomic technologies. David successfully developed DxS over 8 years before securing an exit in September 2009 for a total enterprise value in excess of £100M.
Dr. Jason Ioannidis
Head of Research
Dr. Jason Ioannidis, has more than 10 years in molecular biology and genetics. During his career, he produced a thesis on the development on microRNA-based diagnostics for cattle pregnancy and oestrus, as well as research investigating associations between plasma microRNAs and industry-relevant functional traits in dairy cattle. At the Roslin Institute he completed a three-year project in the functional genetics of avian sex determination, which included the utilisation of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to produce gene-edited chickens. He also completed a short project in the subject of avian optic fissure closure, during which he continued to apply gene-editing techniques.
Brandon Shek graduated with an Honours degree in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh, with a research project focused on characterizing the effects of Tenascin C in Inflammatory Bowel Disease using a mouse model.
Aiming to build on a foundation of knowledge from Biotechnology and expand his technical expertise, he undertook a year-long Master’s research project in Clinical Veterinary Sciences at the Roslin Institute as part of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Sciences, investigating genetic influences on the development of feline tooth resorption.