Aratana: Osteoarthritis drug for dogs could be a ‘blockbuster’

Staff News

Aratana Therapeutics Inc. CEO Dr. Steven St. Peter expects two of the company’s drugs to hit blockbuster status.

With two products released to market since Aratana (Nasdaq: PETX) was founded in 2010, and one pending, St. Peter outlined the market for each.

So far, the company’s osteoarthritis treatment, Galliprant, might fetch the most.

“We continue to think the product can be very significant, a blockbuster in animal health, ” he said in an earnings call. “It’s just about executing. With Galliprant, we couldn’t be more excited.”

Not only would the drug be a viable option for dogs that haven’t responded well to other osteoarthritis treatments, St. Peter said it also could be a pain relief option from the first stages of the disease.

“We are definitely seeing interest across the spectrum,” he said.

Last year, the Leawood company entered a $45 million licensing deal for Galliprant with Elanco Animal Health, an Eli Lilly and Co. subsidiary. The product gained regulatory approval in the U.S. in March 2016, and St. Peter hopes to gain approval in Europe later this year.

“Our viewpoint on the pet therapeutics space is it is possible to bring forward big products,” St. Peter said. “What we’re focused on from ’17 into ’18 is showing the products will be what in the long-term we’ve said they can be.”

The company’s other blockbuster, a dog appetite drug called Entyce, was delayed in February as the company looked to transfer manufacturing to a new vendor. Shares fell 17 percent after the company said it expected to bring the drug to market in late 2017.

This leaves the company to focus on its first commercialized product, Nocita, a local anesthetic to manage pain after dogs undergo knee surgery.

“As surgeons become more comfortable with the product, they’re implementing it as the standard of care,” St. Peter said. “Over time, we hope to expand the label to include more surgeries.”

The company also is studying the treatment’s effectiveness in cats.

The company did not project product revenue for 2017. Aratana reported a net loss of $33.6 million in 2016, compared with $84.1 million the prior year.

Reuter, Elise. “Aratana: Osteoarthritis drug for dogs could be a ‘blockbuster’.” Kansas City Business Journal, 14 Mar. 2017, Accessed 15 Mar. 2017.