Memphasys is a reproductive biotechnology company developing solutions for market needs in human and animal fertility and reproduction.

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The Samson™ Device

Samson™ device – Rapid equine pregnancy prediction assay

Memphasys is developing an “on farm/stud” system that will provide a prediction for successful conception and pregnancy within an hour following stallion – mare mating. The Samson™ device is being trialled and developed for both thoroughbreds using natural matings and for other horse breeds using artificial insemination (AI).

There are compelling “sale & track” commercial drivers for early pregnancy within the breeding season. Racing thoroughbreds have the same birthday (1st August – southern hemisphere; 1st January – northern hemisphere), regardless of their actual birth date. Each day’s additional growth results in a higher market sales result for the yearling foals 1.  Extra growth from an actual earlier pregnancy significantly increases their racing speed and endurance against “younger” horses in the same race 2.

Current practice involves ultrasound diagnosis of pregnancy at 14 days after mating, by which time, if the mare is not pregnant, she will have missed her oestrous cycle and the subsequent delayed conception at the next arranged mating would lead to a latter birth date of her foal.

Stallion semen quality varies significantly both day-to-day and across the breeding season. A quick and reliable “on site/on stud” pregnancy prediction at the time of mating could allow a timely additional service by the stallion on the same day or on the next day, within the mare’s current oestrous cycle. Moreover, the Samson™ device could also enable the monitoring and management of underperforming stallions to achieve more efficient and economical stud facility performance.

Proof-of-concept field trials for the Samson™ device were run in the 2021 Australian breeding system for thoroughbreds and standardbreds. The Samson™ device was 90% accurate in predicting pregnancies in standardbreds. When optimised for individual stallions, the pregnancy prediction for thoroughbred mares was 85%.

The Samson™ device has the potential to improve the efficiency and success of horse breeding practices. Initial sales are anticipated in participating horse stud farms following in-field validation of the next generation Samson™ device in the September to November 2022 breeding season.

1. Each additional foal “day of age” demonstrated to be worth an additional >USD163 to the owner: difference in foal sale price of USD23,000 between the oldest
(“early season” conception) and youngest (“late season” conception) Hansen CR, Stowe CJ. Journal of Applied Economics 2018; 50: 48-63

2. Over a 1600-meter race, a 2-month age difference = 1.7 second difference in finishing time. Takahashi TJ. Equine Science 2015; 26: 43 – 48


AI Port – Ambient temperature semen transport device for artificial insemination in animals

Memphasys is developing a system to store and transport semen for artificial insemination (AI) at ambient temperatures for up to 3 days.

The global AI market is large and extensively used in cattle, pigs, sheep and horses. Semen for AI is usually frozen so that it can be kept indefinitely and transported long distances for remote insemination. However, freezing is very destructive to sperm, particularly to horse sperm. Pig sperm cannot be frozen.

A long-life semen storage and transport device would allow fresh semen to be shipped for AI with consequent benefits:

  • Improving AI success rates
  • Enabling AI semen straws to be loaded with fewer, more reproductively viable, sperm

Field trials in 2022 will be focussed on meat and dairy cattle breeds. High quality sperm will be separated on site from fresh bull semen and shipped at ambient (i.e., average 22°C ) for up to 3 days in a proprietary medium to remote farms for loading into straws for artificial insemination in the cows.

If these trials are successful, the sperm separation system and the transport media will be modified and trialled in other animal species.

ROSA (Rapid Oxidative Stress Assay)

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between reactive oxygen species and antioxidant protection within the body. This imbalance tends to increase with age and can contribute to serious diseases. Oxidative stress can also severely affect fertility in both humans and animals.

At present, there is no simple clinical assessment for oxidative stress. Rather, complex laboratory tests and analyses are required and therefore, not often used. Memphasys is developing a rapid, accurate point of care diagnostic commercial device. The ROSA diagnostic device is initially being investigated for application for bodily fluids (i.e., semen, blood and follicular fluid) for use in the IVF clinic and physician rooms.

The ROSA diagnostic device will utilise a novel biochemistry-based assay. Subject to successful optimisation and validation, the ROSA prototype device will be field tested with selected international key opinion leaders to demonstrate efficacy and determine market opportunities.