While we’ve managed to come up with ways to improve drug discovery and cure our own ailments, there’s been notably less headway for our pets. However, the Cambridge based startup PetMedix is working hard to develop new ways to invent drugs that can help relieve ailments for our pet companions. The company has now raised a notable £27 million in its series B funding round.
The latest funding round for PetMedix was led by Digitalis Ventures, and British funds Parkwalk Advisors. Additionally, Tencent and Japanese corporation Kyoritsu Holdings also participated, along with Cambridge Innovation Capital. The startup says this latest funding round will enable it to go from an R&D-stage to a clinical-stage international organisation.
In a conversation with UKTN, PetMedix’s co-founder Jolyon Martin says, ” These funds will take us from being a research-stage organisation to a development-stage one. We recently announced the first-ever canine trial with one of our antibodies, and were thrilled with the results. In the tech world, this would be our MVP or a very early beta.”
However, there’s still clinical trials and regulatory processes that the company needs to go through and it also has to set up manufacturing for each drug it develops. The startup currently consists of 40 people, almost all of which are scientists in its lab at Cambridge. The company expects to further grow the team in coming years.
PetMedix is a UK-focused biotech company that was founded in 2018. It spun out from the lab of Prof Allan Bradley FRS and is based upon the PhD work of his student, now PetMedix co-founder, Jolyon Martin. The company is developing the first, fully species-specific therapeutic antibodies for dogs and cats.
The company’s Ky9 and Felyne transgenic platforms are used to generate antigen-specific antibodies. As per PetMedix, they’ve generated over 50,000 fully canine, antigen-specific antibodies, which can help ensure that only high-quality therapeutic candidates advance to the clinics.
To reach this point, the startup had to face its fair share of challenges. As per Martin the key challenge is to break new scientific ground as a young company. “ Our scientists have frequently had to invent brand new techniques and solutions to achieve our technical goals.,” he notes. As for rivals, some players are still some ways away from showcasing their work on antibodies. Major players such as Elanco and Merck being one of them. Zoetis, on the other hand, has already launched a therapeutic antibody.
The future and more
The global pet medicine market is estimated to be worth $17 B and is growing by 10% per year. With such innovation happening in the pet healthcare space, we try to understand what could be in store for the future for this sector.
“There are already some excellent companies working on DNA testing, gene therapy and cell therapies,” he concludes. Martin expects that every scientific and medical advance we’ve made for human health will eventually make it to animal health.