A collaboration at Kansas State University and Anivive Lifesciences is promoting the commercial development of GC376, an antiviral compound for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which previously has had no effective treatment or cure.
Yunjeong Kim, DVM, PhD, ACVM, and Kyeong-Ok “KC” Chang, DVM, MS, PhD, virologists at KSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and William Groutas, a medicinal chemist at Wichita State University, have been collaborating since 2006 to develop antiviral drugs for human and animal viruses.
The licensing agreement was coordinated by the KSU Institute for Commercialization with Anivive Lifesciences, a California company whose proprietary software accelerates the discovery and development process of new pet medicines.
“We have been working on antiviral drugs that inhibit a specific virus protease of some important human and animal viruses, and we were able to make very potent inhibitors of FIP,” Dr. Kim said. “Through collaborative work with Niels Pedersen at the University of California, Davis—including a field trial on feline patients—we became increasingly hopeful that antiviral treatment may one day substantially benefit cats with FIP. Licensing our compound to Anivive Lifesciences is a huge step forward in transitioning our research to commercialization to make this treatment available to the public.”
FIP is a progressive and fatal disease caused by a feline coronavirus that can affect both domestic and wild cats. Feline coronaviruses are the cause of viral enteritis, which is typically harmless. But in rare instances, FIP can arise, spread throughout the body, and cause death, particularly in cats age two and younger.
“There are many viral diseases that affect human and animals, but antiviral drugs are available for only a number of viruses, and none has been approved specifically for animals” Dr. Chang said. “Companion animals are increasingly viewed as part of the family, so the feelings of grief over the loss of their cats by this deadly disease can be devastating and very hard to cope with.”
“FIP has long plagued veterinarians and pet owners alike and we look forward to moving this program toward an eventual approval,” said Dylan Balsz, Anivive’s founder and CEO.
The approval process, overseen by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, requires several steps documenting the efficacy, safety, and manufacturing of the compound. The entire process and time to bring GC376 to market will now accelerate because of the Anivive Lifesciences and KSU collaboration, but researchers say it could take several years before it will be available on the market.