Epona Biotec: A Brand History

By Dr. Michael Hurley | Posted on October 1, 2020

In 2015 a chance meeting in Hong Kong between tech entrepreneur Adrian Poon and equine veterinary surgeon Dr Michael Hurley established the basis for what would eventually become Epona Biotec.

Adrian believed there was value in the remote monitoring of horses and that the equine industry was ready to become a part of the growing world of Internet of Things (IoT). With Michael’s extensive industry experience, it was clear that the concept of remotely monitoring simple clinical parameters such as temperature, pulse and respiration would provide incredibly valuable information on a horse’s health, if the data were available in real-time. Based on a scientific paper about Shipping Fever that Michael had published in The Veterinary Journal, the first use case scenario for such real-time data was identified.

Shipping Fever is a potentially serious lung infection that horses are at risk of developing during long-distance transportation. As the name suggests, the first clinical sign to develop is a fever. It was theorised that if the fever could be identified early in the course of the disease, the horse could be treated immediately, resulting in a better clinical outcome.

In 2016, with assistance from the Cyberport Creative Microfund, proof-of-concept was rapidly established and Epona Biotec was founded. The company is aptly named after the Celtic Goddess Epona, the protector of horses.

Further research and development were completed in 2017 through the Cyberport Incubation Programme, and a first round of private investment was accepted in 2018.

The capital investment allowed the company to fast track product development, and in 2020 Epona Biotec launched their flagship product the VetTrue™ System for monitoring the core body temperature of horses in real-time. This system is a world-first in the equine veterinary market and has applications in equine transport, veterinary hospitals, veterinary research, equine quarantine units, and during infectious disease outbreaks in horse populations.

With the USA, Hong Kong and Australian patents recently secured, EU patents pending, and tremendous interest from industry bodies, Epona Biotec’s objective is to continue developing their innovative range of point-of-care biosensors. The company is proud of its achievements and particularly in its role of promoting equine welfare through the applied use of technology.

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