Aratana Therapeutics Inc. is losing millions of dollars a month, but the Kansas City, Kan., veterinary drug developer is confident that products being studied for the treatment of everything from osteoarthritis pain to B-cell lymphoma have the company headed in the right direction.
Four-year-old Aratana this week reported net losses of $10.1 million in the third quarter and $28.6 million over nine months—numbers significantly higher than in the same periods of 2013.
But with more than $108 million in the bank, partly due to a $44.8 million stock sale in September, CEO and President Steven St. Peter, MD, MBA, is looking forward.
“We believe that Aratana is the partner of choice among the pet biotechs, and we are open for business with the right programs and partners,” St. Peter said during an investor conference call.
One partnership is with Novartis Animal Health of Greensboro, N.C., which acquired the U.S. and Canadian marketing rights to AT-004, a code name for Aratana’s canine B-cell lymphoma treatment. Aratana holds a conditional license for AT-004 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and expects full licensure by year’s end.
AT-004 accounted for nearly all of Aratana’s third-quarter revenue—$43,000—through license and collaboration fees.
Already moving into veterinary clinics is AT-005, a T-cell lymphoma treatment for dogs, which earned a conditional license in January 2014 and for which Aratana expects full licensure in 2015.
A few dozen practices purchased AT-005 in November, the company stated, and the proceeds will show up in the fourth-quarter report.
“After receipt of a full license for AT-005 … the company plans to further expand commercial availability,” Aratana reported.
The company is working on more than 15 therapeutic products. Among them:
- AT-001, which uses the compound grapiprant to target the EP4 receptor for osteoarthritis pain in dogs. Aratana completed enrollment in a pivotal field effectiveness study in late October and is hoping for government approval in 2016. AT-001 is in the pilot stage for the treatment of degenerative joint disease in cats.
- AT-002, which is formulated with capromorelin for appetite stimulation in dogs. Enrollment in a pivotal field effectiveness trial is underway. Using AT-002 for weight gain in cats and dogs is in the pilot stage.
- AT-003, a bupivacaine extended-release injectable suspension for post-operative pain in dogs. A pilot study showed positive results, demonstrating “significantly greater pain control for up to 72 hours following orthopedic surgery compared to placebo,” St. Peter said. A pivotal field effectiveness study is expected to begin soon, and AT-003 for post-operative pain in cats is in the proof-of-concept stage.
- AT-006, an eye drop for the treatment of herpes-related ocular lesions in cats. A recently closed study showed positive results, Aratana stated.
- AT-018, an atopic dermatitis treatment for dogs that is expected to begin a pilot study in early 2015. Aratana in October reached an exclusive licensing agreement for AT-018 with the British company Atopix Therapeutics Ltd.