Southampton company PrimerDesign help tackle horse meat food scandal

19thMar 2013

SETsquared Southampton members, PrimerDesign, have been at the centre of lifting the lid on the horsemeat scandal, which has dominated the national press in recent months.

The company have provided in excess of 16,000 DNA test kits, which are able to detect and quantify the presence of horsemeat in food and meat products.

PrimerDesign have always provided kits for meats speciation testing but capitalising on this new market has meant a 50% increase in their February turnover alone.

In total, PrimerDesign produce 300 different DNA test kits.  These are mainly used for the detection of life-threatening diseases and viruses such as malaria, HIV, TB and hepatitis.

Jim Wicks, Managing Director says:  “When the story broke across the media we realised that this was a massive business opportunity for us. By acting quickly we were able to create partnerships with laboratories that are accredited by supermarkets to undertake these tests. Now that we’ve established our expertise for meat speciation testing, we’re getting more and more requests and it looks set to become a major growth area for us.”

Founded in 2005 by three scientists from the University of Southampton, the company now employs 20 people and ships DNA test kits to over 100 countries around the globe.

They previously hit the headlines in 2009 when they were the first company globally to produce a DNA test kit for the Mexican strain of swine flu.

PrimerDesign have received ongoing business support from SETsquared Southampton, including regular business review panels to shape the direction of the company and explore new areas of growth as well as access to specialist mentors and advisers.

Find out more about PrimerDesign 

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Jim Wicks
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