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

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Developed by husband and wife team Jennifer and Kevin Corley, EquiTrace is designed to track horses and their health records.

Kildare-based equine start-up EquiTrace has secured a partnership with Merck Animal Health. The deal will enable the Irish company to bring its smartphone app into the US market.

EquiTrace has developed technology that tracks a horse’s health, identity and whereabouts with microchip scanners. Its platform is designed to work even in environments with limited internet availability, such as stud farms.

The start-up was founded in 2019 by husband and wife team, equine experts Kevin and Jennifer Corley. It has been supported by Enterprise Ireland.

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

EquiTrace was developed in the Curragh in Co Kildare, an area where many Irish stud farms are based. Its 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’s Bio-Thermo chip.

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

“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,” said Kevin Corley.

“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.”

Ron McDaniel, director of US equine sales at Merck Animal Health, added: “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 Animal Health is a division of pharma giant Merck, which is known as MSD outside North America. The company is present in 50 countries around the world, including Ireland, with products available in 150 markets.