News Archive 2014

Equinome Announces Plans for New Jobs and International Expansion as Company Co-founder Receives 2014 NovaUCD Innovation Award

Tuesday, 02 December, 2014 

UCD researcher Dr Emmeline Hill, co-founder of Equinome, who was presented with the 2014 NovaUCD Innovation Award.

UCD researcher Dr Emmeline Hill, co-founder of Equinome, who was presented with the 2014 NovaUCD Innovation Award.

Equinome, the leading Irish equine genomics company, plans to open an office in the USA during 2015 and has 6 new DNA-related tests in development which it intends to launch over the coming 24 months. The company, which is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs and with a sales office in Australia, is also planning to double its workforce to twenty in the next twelve months. These plans are to support the rapid adoption of Equinome’s genetic tests by racehorse owners and breeders around the world.

The company made the announcement at an event held on 1st December at University College Dublin (UCD), during which Dr Emmeline Hill, a co-founder of Equinome, was presented with the 2014 NovaUCD Innovation Award.

The award was presented to Dr Hill, a leading genomics researcher in the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, by UCD President, Professor Andrew J. Deeks, in recognition of the global success and impact which Equinome has achieved in the international, multi-billion euro Thoroughbred horse racing and breeding industry.

Equinome, a UCD spin-out company, was co-founded in 2009 by Dr Hill in partnership with Jim Bolger the renowned Irish trainer and breeder.

Professor Andrew J. Deeks, UCD President said, “The 2014 NovaUCD Innovation Award was presented to Dr Hill in recognition of the successes she has achieve to date through the quality and impact of her research and through the impact of Equinome in the Thoroughbred industry in Ireland and internationally.”

“Equinome, established to commercialise world-class UCD research outputs, is an excellent example of a UCD spin-out company with global reach and sales. While only established in 2010 Equinome has already significantly changed breeding techniques in the global Thoroughbred industry which had until then remained unchanged for hundreds of years.”

Thoroughbred breeders have historically relied on combining successful bloodlines together, hoping that the resulting foal would contain the winning combination of genes which have contributed to the success of the bloodlines to date.

Traditionally whether those winning genes had or had not been inherited, could only be surmised by observing the racing and breeding success of the horse over a period of three to seven years after its birth.

Groundbreaking research, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, and led by Dr Hill, which resulted in the identification of what is now referred to as the ‘Speed Gene’, has fundamentally changed this approach for the global industry. The announcement of the identification of the ‘Speed Gene’, coupled with the launch by Equinome of the Equinome Speed Gene Test in 2010, has been transforming decision-making processes in the global bloodstock industry ever since.

Using the Equinome Speed Gene Test racehorse owners and trainers around the world can now identify as soon as a foal is born if it is ideally suited to racing over short, middle or middle-to-long distances.

Since 2010 the Enterprise Ireland supported company has launched two additional tests. The Equinome Elite Performance Test is used to identify horses with the greatest potential for racecourse success while the Equinome Projected Height Test can be used to predict the mature height of a Thoroughbred horse with a very high degree of accuracy.

On receiving the 2014 NovaUCD Innovation Award, Dr Emmeline Hill said, “I am honoured to receive this prestigious University College Dublin award. Since its formal launch in 2010, Equinome has grown significantly and we now have customers for our genetic tests in over 15 countries across the world, and clients include 2 of the top 5 global Thoroughbred operations.”

She added, “I was delighted to announce today that Equinome is developing 6 new DNA-related tests which we intend to launch by 2016 and that we will be opening an office in the USA during 2015 to complement our presence in Ireland and Australia and that we will be expanding our team to meet the increasing global demand for our genetic tests.”

She concluded, “To date thousands of samples from past and future Champions have passed through Equinome’s laboratories at UCD on their way to the winning post and I look forward to expanding the use of genetic testing in the global Thoroughbred industry in the years ahead.”
The NovaUCD Innovation Award was established in 2004 to highlight University College Dublin’s commitment to innovation. The Award is presented annually to an individual, company or organisation or group in recognition of excellence in innovation or of success achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research or other intellectual activity.