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Makers of new test for TB in cattle win top dairy innovation award

PUBLISHED: 18:02 07 February 2019

Berwyn Clarke of PBD Biotech of Thurston receiving his innovation award at Dairy-Tech from Princess Anne  Picture: HOLDSWORTH ASSOCIATES/PBD BIOTECH

Berwyn Clarke of PBD Biotech of Thurston receiving his innovation award at Dairy-Tech from Princess Anne Picture: HOLDSWORTH ASSOCIATES/PBD BIOTECH

Holdsworth Associates PR/PBD Biotech

The Suffolk makers of a pioneering test for devastating livestock diseases are delighted after scooping a royal accolade.

Berwyn Clarke of PBD Biotech of Thurston receiving his innovation award at Dairy-Tech from Princess Anne  Picture: HOLDSWORTH ASSOCIATES/PBD BIOTECHBerwyn Clarke of PBD Biotech of Thurston receiving his innovation award at Dairy-Tech from Princess Anne Picture: HOLDSWORTH ASSOCIATES/PBD BIOTECH

Dr Berwyn Clarke, chief executive of PBD Biotech at Thurston, near Bury St Edmunds, was presented with the Royal Dairy Innovation Award 2019 at Dairy-Tech 2019 by Princess Anne.

The Royal Dairy Innovation trophy and certificate are awarded for research and development in the field of dairy farming, with the award going to the most practical, relevant product which is likely to be the most significant innovation for the future of dairying.

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It’s hoped PBD’s Actiphage test, which the firm says offers a fast and accurate way to detect the presence of bovine TB, Johne’s disease and other mycobacterial infections, will revolutionise livestock disease management as well as expediting food safety checks on milk and dairy products.

Dr Clarke said: “The dairy industry is known as an early-adopter of innovation, so we’re delighted Actiphage has been recognised amongst such a strong field of emerging tech and forward-thinking services.”

Every year, Johne’s disease costs UK farmers and industry at least £13m and an increasing number of retailers are removing suppliers from their milk pool if they are not engaged in Johne’s disease testing, he said, while in the UK alone, bovine TB results in almost 44,000 cattle slaughtered annually and an estimated cost to the taxpayer of £100m.

The Actiphage test, which delivers results within six hours, was originally developed as a tool for diagnosis of human TB.

The biotech firm has optimised and developed it to provide enhanced sensitivity and enable it to be used in blood or milk samples.

“Globally there is growing concern regarding the presence of live mycobacteria in milk that may have human health implications. This prestigious award is recognition of the opportunity this technology provides to ensure dairy products are free from these organisms as part of routine dairy quality control,” said Dr Clarke.

“We are seeing significant interest from dairy organisations throughout the world in Actiphage, and this award will significantly aid in transferring our technology into those global markets.”

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