Reproductive biotechnology company Memphasys looks to be hitting the mark in the high-value world of horse breeding after its Samson fertility diagnostic device achieved accuracy rates of more than 80 per cent when predicting pregnancies in thoroughbred and standardbred horses, all within a turnaround time of an hour. The company has been developing and field testing the device for the past 18 months.
Reproductive biotechnology company Memphasys looks to be hitting the mark in the high value world of horse breeding after its Samson fertility diagnostic device achieved accuracy rates of more than 80 per cent when predicting equine pregnancies.
For the past 18 months, Memphasys has been developing and field testing its device to predict the chance of a pregnancy within an hour of a stallion-mare coupling, whether naturally or by artificial insemination.
The Samson device is one of several products Memphasys is developing for the fertility and IVF industries, human or animal, led by its flagship Felix sperm separation device.
Memphasys says Samson achieved a predictive accuracy of 90 per cent on standardbreds or trotters, when using the same pregnancy prediction algorithm across all stallions and between 80-90 per cent accuracy for thoroughbreds when the system is optimised for individual stallions.
According to the company, the Samson pregnancy predictions became available within an hour of a mare’s insemination.
The device was field-trialled on two major NSW stud farms, one thoroughbred and one standardbred, during the September to November 2021 Australian horse breeding season.
The study was run under the stewardship of the University of Newcastle Reproductive Science’s Professor John Aitken.
The trial demonstrated the ability of Samson to provide accurate on-site pregnancy predictions, provided a reasonable quality sample from the stallion was collected.
The study noted that samples collected from thoroughbreds after natural mating is of poorer quality as it represents the end fraction of the ejaculate, that contains less and poorer quality sperm and translates to a lower predictive accuracy for thoroughbreds.
The Samson device enables good semen parameters to be measured but it must also be supplemented with an algorithm utilising other data, such as stallion age, to provide a predictive outcome.
Memphasys said it had identified some significant potential commercial opportunities for its fertility predictor with large markets in the major breeding centres of the US, Australia, Japan, Ireland, NZ and numerous other countries where there are many thousands of attempted natural and artificial insemination fertilisations every year.
Stallion fertility can vary significantly – from 33 per cent to 100 per cent – across the breeding season with varying weekly conception rates. Some stallions have habitually poor fertility of less than 50 per cent, according to the company.
Access to real-time pregnancy prediction can help ensure fertilisation occurs within the mare’s short cycle, increasing the possibility of an early pregnancy and for her improved likelihood of pregnancy during the season.
The company is also planning to test a modified Samson device in the cattle sector to determine if a similar outcome can be achieved for high-value dairy and beef cattle breeding.
With the eye-popping prices being seen at thoroughbred horse sales, such as the world-famous Magic Millions, and monies being paid for premium Wagyu cattle genetics, there may be significant commercial potential for any device like Samson that can increase the odds of successful reproduction.
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