Start-Up Drug Maker Kindred Biosciences Moving Quickly

Veterinarians in 2015 may have three more pharmaceutical options for dogs if Kindred Biosciences keeps to its timetable.

From left, Kindred Biosciences executives Kevin Schultz, Stephen Sundlof and Blake Hawley.

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Veterinarians in 2015 may have three more pharmaceutical options for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, atopic dermatitis or postoperative pain if Kindred Biosciences can keep to its timetable.

The development-stage drug maker is flush with money, ideas, and veterinary and business expertise as it manages a pipeline filled with more than 10 potential products designed for the treatment of everything from gastrointestinal disease in cats to laminitis in horses.

The drugs likely to debut first are CereKin, AtoKin and SentiKin. The farthest along is the osteoarthritis medication CereKin (diacerein), an interleukin-1 beta inhibitor that has completed canine enrollment in a multicenter, pivotal field study.

The Burlingame, Calif., company expects to file a New Animal Drug Application for CereKin this year and hopes to win U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2015.

All that for a company that didn’t exist three years ago.

“The completion of enrollment … on schedule and on budget is a strong validation of our business model and a testament to the quality and dedication of our team,” said Kindred co-founder Richard Chin, MD, whose career includes leadership roles at human drug makers Genentech and Elan.

Chin and co-founder Denise Bevers, who has a background in pharmaceuticals and research, have surrounded themselves with three names from the veterinary world.

The chief scientific officer and head of research and development is Kevin Schultz, DVM, Ph.D. Dr. Schultz held the same titles at the veterinary pharmaceutical company Merial Ltd., where his work helped lead to products such as the topical flea and tick treatment Frontline Plus and the canine pain medicine Previcox.

Dealing with government red tape is a veteran in the field, Stephen Sundlof, DVM, Ph.D., the senior vice president of regulatory affairs. Dr. Sundlof is a former longtime director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The chief commercial officer is Blake Hawley, DVM, whose resume includes overseas management positions with pet food manufacturer Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

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Endorsing the company’s business and product ideas are investors, who poured $58 million into Kindred Biosciences in April through a public stock offering that pushed the cash reserve to more than $110 million. They won’t see any profits or dividends for a while given that Kindred has nothing on the market and is spending millions of dollars each quarter on research and development.

That’s all part of the plan, Chin said.

“We are on track to meet our target of $3 million to $5 million and three to five years per molecule,” he said. “With our additional financial resources … we will continue to accelerate our development programs and pursue potential acquisition opportunities.”

Kindred’s research program includes a partnership with X-Body Biosciences of Waltham, Mass. The companies announced in March that X-Body would generate canine, feline and equine therapeutic antibodies for development and sale by Kindred.

While Kindred expects CereKin to hit the animal drug market first, close behind are AtoKin (fexofenadine) and SentiKin (flupirtine), both of which entered the pivotal study stage in the first quarter of 2014.

AtoKin is a chewable, beef-flavored antihistamine intended for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in dogs. The active ingredient, fexofenadine, “causes less drowsiness and other side effects than first-generation antihistamines,” Kindred reported.

SentiKin is a centrally acting nonopioid, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic formulated to fight postoperative pain in dogs and potentially in cats.

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