Animal Biosciences targets innovation for aging companion animals

US company Animal Biosciences hopes to become the latest start-up to take innovation from the human medicine sector and take it into the animal health market.

The Boston, Massachusetts-based firm is aiming to commercialize two small molecules it has licenced from the human biotechnology sector. Animal Biosciences has three ongoing R&D projects focused on a therapeutic for managing weight in dogs, an over-the-counter supplement for improving health in aging dogs and a candidate for fertility in horses.

Animal Biosciences intends to take its projects to the point where it can licence them to a larger animal health company for regulatory progression and commercialization.

The company is the brainchild of David Sinclair – a professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. In 2017, Prof Sinclair co-founded Life Biosciences alongside Tristan Edwards to focus on solving age-related health problems in humans. One year later, he established Animal Biosciences as a part of the Life Biosciences family and backed the start-up with seed funding.

In addition, the two companies that provided Animal Biosciences with its current small molecules have links to Life Biosciences – the latter owns Continuum Biosciences and has a minority stake in Jumpstart Fertility.

Speaking to Animal Pharm at the recent Animal Health Innovation Asia conference in Tokyo, the company's chief executive Doug Korn stated: "We're focused on companion animals because we see it as having opportunities of highest growth and true innovation. Our vision is to be a disruptor in the animal health industry and be the world leader in advancing companion animal longevity and vitality."

He also said Animal Biosciences is currently focused on working on its three candidates but will aim to in-licence more potential products in the long term. While the firm will target partnerships to take candidates from human biotech businesses, it is also evaluating opportunities to partner with universities.

Animal Biosciences represents one company – along with PetMedix, adivo and ScoutBio – in a second wave of companion animal therapeutics-focused start-ups. The first influx of this type of business came earlier this decade with Aratana Therapeutics, Nexvet Biopharma and Kindred Biosciences. Two of these companies have since exited the through acquisitions, following initial public offerings in the US.

"Our mission is to create value and look at unmet needs with companion animal therapeutics," Mr Korn remarked. "If we create value for both pet owners and veterinarians, the rest of the business will take care of itself."

Mr Korn spent seven years in senior strategy roles at Mars Petcare. Earlier this year, Animal Biosciences added further expertise to its management team by appointing Virginia Rentko as its chief veterinary medical officer. Dr Rentko spent over 10 years as the medical director of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.