UK genetics company Genus has announced its plans to help develop pigs that are Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) resistant.
Genus will work with Beijing Capital Agribusiness Co Ltd (BCA), a leading Chinese genetics business, to research and market pigs in China that are resistant to the virus.
The disease causes severe breathing problems in young pigs and breeding failures in pregnant females.
PRRS is endemic in most pig producing countries worldwide, and is responsible for billion-dollar losses each year.
Vaccines have mostly failed to stop the spread of the virus, which continues to evolve rapidly.
Consequently, it is one of the greatest challenges facing pig producers today. In Europe alone, the disease is estimated to cost the pig industry more than €1.5 billion each year.
Announcing the collaboration, Genus said it marks an 'exciting step forward in the development of PRRS resistant pigs for pork producers in China'.
“The combination of Genus’ PRRS resistance technology, elite genetics and breeding know-how along with BCA’s deep understanding of the porcine sector in China and its distribution channels plays to the strengths of each party,” said Bill Christianson, Chief Operating Officer of Genus PIC.
“We are looking forward to rapidly progressing the PRRSv resistance program in collaboration with BCA and launching this important new product in China.”
The initial phase of the collaboration is expected to take several years and focuses on the research, development and regulatory approval in China of PRRSv resistant pigs.