Neogen opens Canada operation to serve demand for gene-testing services

Foreign currency fluctuations have been a drag on Neogen ($NEOG) this year, delaying some of the company's overseas expansion plans and causing earnings in the recently reported first quarter to come in below expectations. But one bright spot for the company has been GeneSeek, its animal genomics testing service, which it's now expanding into Canada.

Neogen's GeneSeek general manager Stewart Bauck

On Oct. 19, Michigan-based Neogen, which markets a range of food- and animal-safety products, announced that it is opening an office in Ontario that will initially focus on offering GeneSeek services to Canadian customers. The benefits of the new location include "avoiding the requirements of shipping biological samples internationally, as well as invoicing in Canadian dollars," said Stewart Bauck, general manager of Neogen's GeneSeek, in a press release.

GeneSeek offers tests that can screen cattle DNA for 150,000 genetic variations associated with sought-after traits. In addition to serving the agricultural biotechnology industry, GeneSeek offers tests for dog breed registries. Earlier this year, in a conference call with analysts, Neogen CEO James Herbert estimated the company was running 200,000 DNA samples per month.

At the time, Herbert said much of Neogen's future growth potential would come from expanding into countries where there is a high unmet need for its services, but that it would have to carefully refine its currency strategies to "mitigate adverse effects."

Neogen continues to invest in expanding GeneSeek's capabilities and reach. In addition to launching the Canadian operation, the company recently introduced a new mobile-friendly web platform called Igenity Dashboard, designed to make it easier for dairy farmers to manage their herds' genomic information. Farmers can use the platform, along with GeneSeek's tests, to produce customized charts and graphs for optimizing breeding decisions.

"The latest dairy genomic technology provides a tremendous amount of useful information on a single animal, a producer's entire herd, or even animal and herd comparisons against database averages for a given breed," said Bauck in a press release.

- here's the press release on the Canada opening (PDF)
- read more about Igenity Dashboard here (PDF)