The University of Surrey and Zoetis launch vHive 2.0 to strengthen partnership in driving the development of next-generation animal health innovations
The Veterinary Health Innovation Engine (vHive) was first launched in 2015 through a partnership between the new University of Surrey School of Veterinary Medicine and Zoetis. Since 2015, vHive has become an international player in animal health research. vHive has acted as the catalyst for bringing together partners across the M3 corridor into the UK Government’s High Potential Opportunity – showcasing that Surrey and SE England are some of the best places to conduct animal health research globally.
Rimma Driscoll, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Strategy, Commercial and Business Development, and Global BioDevices at Zoetis said:
“There is a very good complementarity on the expertise that Zoetis and University of Surrey are contributing to in this partnership towards innovation and forward-thinking technologies in this sector. We expect that vHive will benefit the agri-health industry tremendously and towards sustainability. As part of vHive 2.0 we are pleased to announce the creation of a sector-specific animal health incubator focused on start-ups innovating across the continuum of care in both companion animal and livestock.”
vHive 2.0 aims to expand on the successes of the original vHive partnership by investing in the latest cutting-edge technologies from human health, such as AI, biomarkers, big data and health informatics. By taking the learnings from human health, vHive 2.0 will use real-world data to develop novel actionable insights and solutions, supporting veterinarians, pet owners and farmers where current research to date has been limited.
“To advance animal health, it is important to utilise all the available data and use it well with modern informatics methods. vHive will break down silos that have existed in the past, developing multidisciplinary research for improved animal health. vHive’s core focus is the ability to generate and collect lots of different types of data into a single platform for analysis. Crucially, this is designed for industrial needs – data can be stored in a trusted, secure environment and only made accessible to those who need it. From there, we move to solutions to improve animal health and food security,” said Prof Tony Whetton, Director of vHive.
Jamie Brannan, Executive Vice President and President, International Operations and aquatic health at Zoetis, added:
“We are honoured to be part of vHive and now vHive 2.0, as the outputs will be relevant for industry development – helping to advance the animal health sector globally. Investing in innovation is crucial for Zoetis and its customers as we look to deliver the next generation of solutions for improving the health and welfare of animals.”
“This initiative also fortifies Zoetis’ commitment towards animal health innovation, and we take pride in our continued partnership with the University of Surrey, which we are sure will bring greater success and opportunities in time to come,” added Rimma Driscoll of Zoetis.
Amongst its many collaborative achievements, vHive contributed to the African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement initiative (A.L.P.H.A.) goals to improve access to animal health and services in Sub-Saharan Africa. vHive veterinary innovation specialists partnered with Zoetis to help reduce the prevalence of diseases and improve productivity for African farmers. The A.L.P.H.A. initiative is helping to train over 100,000 veterinary professionals and treat over 100 million animals across sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.
vHive 2.0 is already working to deliver new insights and has recently pioneered the use of social listening – a tool to analyse social media commentary – to determine how best to support pet owners with common conditions. When combined with other forms of data e.g. wearables or welfare metrics, this has the potential to lead to improved decision-making – resulting in better outcomes for pets and farmed animals.
Prof Paul Townsend, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, said:
“We are proud to share that since the vHive’s inception in 2015, we have already won the High Potential Opportunity Award – for our partnership with Enterprise M3, an Animal Health Innovation Network. This is just one of the many great achievements we have had with vHive.”
The University of Surrey has a long and distinguished heritage in both research and innovation dating back to its origins as the Battersea Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1891. The university’s veterinary school was the second in the UK since it opened in 1965. It has brought leadership in health informatics, bioinformatics, proteomics, biomarker discovery, genomics, transcriptomics, oncology and biobanking/epidemiology to the faculty and the campus, which is going to help transform animal health leverages on breakthroughs in human health.
The launch, which took place in the Royal Society, London, saw a list of distinguished guests, including UK minister of Science and Innovation, George Freeman, industry leaders, potential investors, as well as executive teams from both University of Surrey and Zoetis.
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Notes to editors
As the world’s leading animal health company, Zoetis is driven by a singular purpose: to nurture our world and humankind by advancing care for animals. After innovating ways to predict, prevent, detect, and treat animal illness for more than 70 years, Zoetis continues to stand by those raising and caring for animals worldwide – from veterinarians and pet owners to livestock farmers and ranchers. The company’s leading portfolio and pipeline of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and technologies make a difference in over 100 countries. A Fortune 500 company, Zoetis generated revenue of $8.1 billion in 2022 with approximately 13,800 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.
In 2015 the University of Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Zoetis, the world’s largest animal pharmaceutical company, collaborated to launch vHive, a unique multi-disciplinary research and innovation initiative dedicated to the development and adoption of new digital technologies in animal health.
vHive was created through a co-investment of £8.5 million and was supported by an award of £200k from Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (EM3 LEP) and co-locates staff from the Zoetis Centre for Digital Innovation, with academics from the School of Veterinary Medicine. The engine additionally benefits from expertise in technology from Surrey’s 5G/6G Innovation Centre and the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing, along with business insights from the Centre for the Digital Economy in Surrey Business School as well as INDEX (Initiative in the Digital Economy) at the University of Exeter.