Prolego Scientific, an early-stage enterprise, has won University College Dublin’s (UCD) 2017 Start-Up of the Year Award. The start-up won the award and a €20,000 prize after being declared overall winner of the 2017 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme.
Prolego Scientific offers proprietary artificial intelligence solutions that are used to improve the accuracy of genetic tests in many areas for example improving animal health and performance metrics. These tests in turn improve the quality of the food chain and breeding values. The global animal genetic testing market has seen rapid growth in recent years and is currently estimated to be worth in excess of €3 billion.
Prolego Scientific’s proprietary algorithms make use of genetic data and pedigree information to predict phenotypic traits of commercial value within the agri-food and biotech sectors. Examples of applicability are the poultry and aquaculture markets, where this information can be used to predict metrics such as meat tenderness, resistance to antibiotics and protein yields.
To date, the Irish equine industry has benefited from using the algorithms to predict horse race performance metrics of elite thoroughbreds in respect to optimum race distance, race surface and performance potential. Currently, results have yielded accuracy increases of between 5 to 30 per cent over industry gold standard tests used in the genetic testing industry.
The founders of Prolego Scientific, a UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics start-up are, Dr Belinda Hernández, Associate Professor Andrew Parnell and Dr Mahdi Amina.
Commenting on the award, Dr Belinda Hernández said: “We are delighted to have come away with the accolade of UCD Start-up of the Year 2017. This award is an honour for Prolego Scientific to receive and is a great acknowledgement of our work, success and progress to date.”