IN OVO, a Dutch company focused on sexing male chicks before they hatch, has won €2.5m in funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC).

It is one of only 72 companies awarded a grant in this round following close to 4,000 applications from start-ups across Europe.

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In Ovo is a spin-off from Leiden University and seeks to solve the controversial practice of culling male chicks post-hatch – which is set to be banned in Germany and France by the end of next year.

The technology that In Ovo is developing relies on removing a small amount of liquid from eggs on day nine of incubation that can determine whether an embryo is male or female.

Female chicks can then continue to be incubated, while eggs containing males can be processed before developing any further.

The EIC’s accelerator provides funding to companies and other resources to help them scale up faster.

‘Positive impact’

Wouter Bruins, director at In Ovo, said: “This subsidy enables us to speed up development, scale up the company, and will have massive positive impact on the poultry industry across the globe.

“We are grateful and very happy to receive such a prestigious grant and look forward to working with the council on accelerating our business.

“Together, we can improve both sustainability and animal welfare in food production on a very large scale.”