(18 September, 2012) Melbourne, Australia. Australian veterinary biologic drug developer Nexvet Biopharma (Nexvet) announced today the completion of a seed round of financing following a significant investment by the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund (TTCF). This brings Nexvet’s total seed funding to A$2.5 million from a mixture of private investment and Government grants and initiatives. TTCF is a major Australian commercialisation fund committed to developing promising business opportunities that have emerged from Australasian Universities that are members of the Fund. TTCF has led the recent round.
Nexvet is seizing a major market opportunity in veterinary medicine by using its proprietary technology, PETisation™, to use human antibody drugs as templates for creating animal-specific versions in a single step. The strategic advantage behind PETisation™ is its utilization of a ready supply of target antibody drugs with proven effectiveness in humans, to rapidly provide a portfolio of veterinary drugs. Already supported by clinical evidence, Nexvet is poised to complete a number of further key studies in 2012/2013, and recently signed a licensing deal with a major Japanese animal health company for a canine anti-inflammatory product.
Antibody drugs are experiencing rapid growth in human healthcare due to their high specificity and efficacy. High profile “blockbuster” examples include Roche’s Herceptin® and Avastin® for treating various cancers, and Abbott’s Humira® for treating inflammatory disorders. These three drugs alone generate more than US$15 billion in annual sales, illustrating the revolution that is taking place in human medicine and paving the way for a similar phenomenon in animal health.
The global animal health market is estimated to be worth approximately $20 billion, with a five percent compound annual growth rate. The companion animal segment has experienced significant growth as both pet owner populations and average spend on companion animals increases year-on-year. The opportunity for superseding existing treatments with new, more effective antibody drugs is steadily growing, and PETisation™ positions Nexvet as a leader in the rapid development of effective antibody drugs for the animal health market.
The new funds will be used to drive Nexvet’s clinical programs, including initiation of new trials and completion of existing studies in the lead programs for canine pain and inflammatory conditions and in some cancer settings. In addition, the funds will further Nexvet’s business development activities, including discussions with a number of international organisations.
Nexvet CEO Mark Heffernan commented “Closing this investment round complements the Company’s recent signing of Japanese pharmaceutical company Meiji Seika Pharma as a partner for an antibody to treat canine inflammatory conditions. The investment will allow the Company to deliver on a rapid growth phase, accelerating our product development. The introduction of TTCF onto the share register brings not only capital, but high-quality experience and expertise to the Nexvet team”.
TTCF representative Dr. Andrew O’Brien, who will be joining the Nexvet Board, said “Nexvet is a good example of an Australian company developing an innovative technology that allows it to capture an emerging global market opportunity with growing demand. The Nexvet portfolio promises to significantly contribute to the diversity and effectiveness of the drugs available in a number of key indications in the companion animal health market. These factors combined with the strong track record of the team positions Nexvet well for delivering on value-accretive milestones over the next 12 months and beyond.”
Nexvet will be providing a number of updates in upcoming months on achieved milestones as the seed funding drives its clinical work and business development.
Nexvet Biopharma is developing safe, more effective and specific medicines for companion animals, (cats, dogs and horses). The Nexvet portfolio focuses on inflammatory disease, pain and cancer. The portfolio is composed of species-equivalent versions of biologicals shown to be successful in treating human indications, converted by Nexvet’s proprietary PETisation™ technology.
PETisation™ converts biologics to species-specific analogues through a simple, rapid one-step process with a high success rate. For decades animal health companies have used drugs based on human health products with typically little optimization for the animal targets. Nexvet will address this shortcoming by introducing new highly optimized products in areas of greatest market need.
The area of biologics has undergone massive growth in human medicine, and is responsible for many of the most effective drugs on the market. Biologics are drugs based on natural proteins with typically good efficacy, high specificity and an excellent side-effect profile. To date, innovation and competition in biologics in the $20 billion global veterinary pharmaceuticals market has been limited. Nexvet’s team has international track records in developing human biologics combined with veterinary expertise. Nexvet’s expertise in biologics R&D confers a strong competitive advantage and has generated an extensive intellectual property position, making Nexvet an attractive licensing partner and/or acquisition target.
Nexvet is based in Melbourne, Australia, with partners and investors located around the world. Nexvet has also received support from the Australian Government under its Commercialization Australia scheme. If you would like to know more about Nexvet, please visit the website at www.nexvet.com and via the contacts below.
About the Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund
The Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund (TTCF) is an A$30 million open end fund that brings together universities, governments and a capital provider mutual benefit. It invests in opportunities and/or projects whose main purpose is to commercialise technology arising from a collaborating member university. The technology can be in any sector, including life sciences, information & communications technology or engineering/cleantech. TTCF has recently made successful exits from HaloIPT and Ruga Corporation. Please see www.ttcf.com.au
Chief Executive Officer, Nexvet
+61 447 155 542
+61 3 8866 4722