THE MICROBIOME COMPANY
A healthy opportunity
Founded on pioneering research and breakthrough technology, Tharos is poised to tap into a significant market opportunity in animal health.
The state of the gut is of critical importance to humans and animals alike. It has a direct effect on health and performance. The impact of the microbiome – including bacteria, fungi and viruses – in the gut is now coming under scrutiny. It is these microbiomes in animals that form the scientific focus of Tharos.
2018 will see the market launch of the first Tharos product, EquiNectar® horse feed – the culmination of years of research and development. EquiNectar® is the commercialised form of enzyme rich malt extract (ERME), which has been shown to improve the health and performance of racehorses suffering from common digestive problems.
Contributing to a four-fold increase in prize money during in-feed trials at one leading race yard, EquiNectar® has been described as “a game-changer” by a leading figure in the sector. The original product is being followed up with the development of alternative formats, and with further potential applications in the equine sector and other animals.
EquiNectar®’s initial launch will be in horse-racing – but this is just the first of many potential markets for future products, including companion animals and bovines.
Tharos’s clinical development programme is now focusing on the treatment of laminitis, a debilitating and costly condition believed to affect more than 60,000 horses in the UK. Until now the disease has been difficult to treat. Our researchers have identified a clear biochemical pathway for its diagnosis, again linked to digestion problems. We are now developing a diagnostic assay for laminitis, based on our research, and refining EquiNectar® for intervention where laminitis is indicated.
Tharos has developed a translational research programme using metabolomics, immunology, microbiology and related techniques to develop products for laminitis and wider animal health.
Building on our successful studies on EquiNectar®’s effect on the microbiome of the gut, we are developing additional programmes to support product development in further sectors.
Current trials in diagnosis, treatment and prevention are preparing the way for a laminitis product.
Trials are planned this year in the UK for applications in pet dogs and cats. The focus is on finding solutions for companion animals with digestion problems caused by a combination of amylase deficiency and too much human food in their diets. Cats and dogs both suffer from irritable bowel disease, causing intractable diarrhoea and weight loss. Cats can have exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which is not well understood but usually treated with pancreatic enzymes. In both cases, it is believed that EquiNectar-type products could normalise the microbiome.
For animals that are part of the food chain, we will develop partnerships with companies that have proven expertise in the sector. This research will explore increased absorption of methane in the gut, which has a reasonable probability of success to deliver an impact on speedier recovery of cows after calving, increased yields in milk production and increased yields in protein production for beef.