Orchid Cellmark awarded U.K. national scrapie plan genotyping contract


Orchid Cellmark Inc. announced that the U.K. government has extended the company's scrapie genotyping contract through 2007 and 2008. The extension is expected to be worth in excess of $3.5 million annually. Under the terms of the agreement, Orchid Cellmark will become the exclusive supplier of Genotyping services offered to sheep farmers under the government's National Scrapie Plan for Great Britain, which is designed to help British farmers breed sheep with reduced genetic susceptibility to the prion disease scrapie.

The contract renewal is part of the National Scrapie Plan for Great Britain developed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in conjunction with the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Departments in Scotland and Wales. The voluntary National Scrapie Plan is a long-term initiative of the U.K. government to eradicate scrapie from the national flock and thereby reduce the economic costs and potential risk to the sheep industry posed by sheep with scrapie. Orchid Cellmark's genotyping service has analyzed the DNA of approximately two million sheep under this program since 2001.

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