Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – Dr. Brenna Brown has been working with and running laboratories for a decade. While working as a business development rep for an environmental lab, she would often get asked the same question repeatedly.

“They’d ask, can you test my animal samples? And I couldn’t because I was environmental. So, that was me learning about this animal health diagnostic laboratory shortage.” 

Seeing how farmers were grappling with the scarcity of rapid animal testing diagnostics and local veterinarians, Dr. Brown and friends Dr. Adina Bujold and Bridget Brown created Cohlab, focusing on improving animal health testing for farmers, producers, and ranchers. 

Cohlab’s goal is to bridge the gap between traditional lab testing and real-time, on-site diagnostics for animal health. Bujold, a pathobiologist and animal microbiology expert, developed Potentio, a device that makes it easy for farmers to test the health of their herds or flocks in real time.

“The way that it works is it takes a very complicated, lab-based technique that is considered the gold standard for this kind of analysis. It simplifies and adapts it into something you can do in the tube,” says Bujold. “You can do the shoot or cage side, depending on your animals. You can then read the information you get using a glucose strip and a Potentiometer or the machine you would use to measure blood sugars.” 

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With the device, farmers can conduct tests on-site, receive rapid results, and make informed decisions about the health of their animals without the delays associated with traditional lab testing.

Dr. Brown says she wants to demystify how labs work and help farmers and producers understand the lab process and the results that come from it.

“People view laboratories as a big, black box where samples go in, magic happens, and numbers come out,” she says. “I have spent the last ten years helping people understand what that magic is. How do you work with a lab so that those numbers coming out mean something to you? I want to bring that to people working with animals so they can make important business decisions.”

Bridget Brown, Cohlab’s marketing officer, says securing more seed funding and patents is the next stage of the company’s development.

“This is point-of-care technology. We want producers to be able to go into the UFA and purchase this technology off the shelf. For that to happen, we need the IP to be protected.” 

Cohlab was the winner of the judge’s award at the SVG Ventures Thrive AgriFood Academy IV Demo Day in Calgary.

You can learn more about Cohlab by visiting their website