Kildare start-up EquiTrace on course for expansion with Merck deal

Kildare-based equine start-up EquiTrace has secured a partnership with multinational Merck Animal Health.

The partnership will enable EquiTrace to develop its smartphone app, which tracks a horse’s health, identity and whereabouts. It will also allow the company to expand into the US market.

EquiTrace’s platform is designed to work even in environments with limited internet availability, like stud farms. It was founded in 2019 by husband and wife team, equine experts Kevin and Jennifer Corley.

Early on, it secured funding from Enterprise Ireland and it was identified as a high-potential start-up after it won the Enterprise Ireland Start Up Showcase.

Jennifer Corley is a former equine surgeon, while Kevin Corley is a specialist in critical care medicine for horses. Prior to establishing EquiTrace, Jennifer Corley set up Veterinary Advances, an app that is used by both British and Australian veterinary authorities.

It was developed in the Curragh in Co Kildare, an area where many Irish stud farms are based. The Corleys’ relationship with Merck began during the app’s beta testing phase. The two companies ran a testing programme in four countries to develop the capability of reading a horse’s temperature from a Merck bio-therm chip.

The feature makes taking a horse’s temperature safer for trainers and owners, who would ordinarily have to take the animal’s temperature rectally.

According to Kevin Corley: “The combination of Bio-Thermo microchips with our software enables rapid identification of temperature fluctuations in a horse at the stroke of a microchip scanner. This is essential to managing infectious diseases, such as equine herpesvirus, influenza and strangles.”

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“As an internal medicine specialist, I’m delighted to contribute to a novel temperature monitoring system that’s effective without stressing the horse or the barn team,” he added.

Ron McDaniel, Director of U.S. Equine Sales, Merck Animal Health also commented on the partnership: “By enabling convenient digital temperature monitoring, we’re able to make life easier for busy veterinary and farm teams while providing them with tools to help efficiently identify illness and monitor disease outbreaks.”

Merck has been in business for 130 years, and in 2020 alone its turnover was $48bn. It is present in 50 countries and 150 markets all over the world. It has had a presence in Ireland since 1977.

The EquiTrace app is available on Google Play and Apple’s app store.

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