How to Develop Genomics Product and Get the Best Prices

How to Develop AgriGenomics Products And Get The Best Prices

For over 10 years now, we have heard of countless agrigenomics products hitting the market: Angus 384 (retired), Clarifide, GeneMax, Igenity Silver or Gold etc..

We have also heard of the i50k, GGP-LD, GGP-HD, 150k and the list goes on.

All of those were created by the genomics companies using knowledge gained from the very first chip: the Illumina Bov50k.

Over the years those companies poured their own R&D money in acquiring the samples from the top bulls of the industry, as well as on genotyping and analyzing the data to create a specific product that filled a gap somewhere, either on the Seedstock or Commercial sectors.

But, we are now seeing a shift: We are now entering the era where the Breed Associations are creating their own products.

Related: The Future of the Breed Associations

They have encouraged their members to collect phenotypic data over the years and now with the increased database of genotypes from various projects, as well as from the routine genomics work done by their membership, the database keeps getting larger and larger.

Naturally, the question becomes…what to do with all of those data?

The answer: Let’s create our own genomics product. And, we will give it our own name.

This is the trend today and it will continue to be, so long as those investing in genotypes also continue to invest in data collection.

Product development will never go away because the need for products will never go away. For as long as we have problems, the products that promise solutions will continue to be in demand.

In the beginning, we had little knowledge of what was important, so we threw everything in on a chip.

Over time the technology got better (and more cost effective), so we went ahead and selected a bunch more animals to be genotyped. We made some more predictions and those predictions made better products.

We are now weeding out the old markers and making room for new real state. That’s the process of creating new genomics products. As more animals are genotyped and selection decisions made using those products, there is a need to aggressively replace the markers that become fixed (no variation) in a population.

We use that product over and over until it comes a time to add new markers for existing traits and for additional traits. The same traits that took years of data collection efforts.

Feed efficiency. Fertility. Any trait that affects the producer’s bottom line.

That’s how you create genomics products.

Kudos to the American Angus Association for developing a new product for their membership (Here is the press release). The “AngusGS” will be available to their membership in November for a price significantly lower than what the current options are available for. It will be priced to the membership for $37 per sample.

This new shift is also the result of the new methodologies used for incorporating the DNA information into the genetic evaluation (The Future of the Breed Associations).

The new methodology renders the Breed Associations more independent and no longer bound by having to receive molecular breeding values (MBVs) from the genomics companies.

The consequence of that?

You run your own evaluation with your own product and your own markers.

There is another lesson here. When you create your own product, you also have leverage on a very important item: Price.

The new price of $37 dollars for a 50k product can only be accomplished through volume and the development of new processes with either the laboratories or the technology companies.

Purchasing power works. You look at your database and make predictions for what you need to genotype in the future and you bring that number into the discussion.

Here is a little exercise for anyone in the industry buying genomics tests:

Look at your numbers for the past 5 years and make predictions on what you will genotype in the next 18 to 24 months. When you come to a meeting with large numbers and the will to go somewhere else, you can negotiate.

If you are a Seedstock producer, you can look at your numbers and let your Breed Association know what you are planning on genotyping.

Have you genotyped all of your bulls?

Have you genotyped all of your cows?

Are you planning on genotyping your entire calf crop?

Angus and many other Breed Associations have probably enough demand now to go ahead and order many of those chips themselves and ask the genotyping service companies to run the samples and send them back the results.

So, if you are in that position, make sure to leverage it.

The Angus product was developed internally. As it should be. 

No one knows more about Angus Cattle, then those collecting data on Angus Cattle.

No one knows more about Hereford Cattle, then those collecting data on Hereford Cattle.

No one knows more about Simmental Cattle, then those collecting data on Simmental Cattle.

and so on..

Sorry to go all Bart Simpson on you, but do you see where I am going with this?

The message is clear. If you want to be at the forefront of the industry:

  1. Continue to develop ways to encourage and incentivize the collection of phenotypic data.
  2. Invest in internal processes that allow for the uptake of new technologies and offerings.
  3. Look ahead to create your own product (for your membership and their customers) and promote your own brand.

About the Author Elisa Marques

An advocate for lifelong learning. A self-admitted textbook collector. I have been traveling around the globe since the tender age of 16 and have lived in 3 different countries. Some say that the 90’s cartoon character “Carmen SanDiego” was loosely based on me, but who knows. I am a nerd at heart with a huge passion for science, marketing and teaching.

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