COLUMBIA — PetScreen Ltd., an animal research company based in Nottingham, England, will open its U.S. headquarters in Columbia, according to a news release from Regional Economic Development Inc. and Missouri Innovation Center.
"I am extremely pleased about the news," Mayor Darwin Hindman said in the release. He said PetScreen will bring good jobs to the area and collaborate with MU researchers, which may draw more research-dependent businesses to Columbia.
PetScreen will lease 800 square feet of wet lab space in the MU Life Science Business Incubator at Monsanto Place. The company will use the Columbia location as a laboratory for cancer detection tests in the U.S. market.
PetScreen primarily focuses on developing new detection and treatment tools for aging-related diseases, such as cancer and renal diseases, in cats and dogs, according to the release.
Jake Halliday, president of the Missouri Innovation Center, said that a contributing factor in PetScreen's choice of Columbia was its close connection with MU researcher Carolyn Henry, associate professor of oncology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Henry helps PetScreen clinically evaluate tests of dogs with lymphoma and aids in evaluating results.
On a visit to scout possible locations for their U.S. headquarters, PetScreen researchers made a side trip to Columbia to visit Henry, and she took the group downtown during a music festival on Ninth Street. Henry said that one of the PetScreen researchers was surprised to realize that he knew one of the bands playing and that a small town in America would bring them in to play.
PetScreen was not planning on making Columbia part of its search for a headquarters location, but the visit with Henry convinced the company of the benefits of choosing Columbia.
"Everything they needed to be successful was on this campus," Henry said. "I think (Columbia) is an excellent fit."