Zoetis Inc. plans to arm veterinary dermatologists with a new weapon this fall: an antibody therapy designed to turn off the itch switch in dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis.
The Florham Park, N.J., drug and vaccine maker reported Monday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a conditional license for Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic. Delivered monthly by injection, the antibody neutralizes interleukin-31, a protein that instructs a dog’s brain to begin scratching, Zoetis stated.
The therapy joins another Zoetis product, the daily drug Apoquel, as a way to control canine itching regardless of the underlying problem.
While Apoquel is indicated for cases of allergic or atopic dermatitis in dogs at least 1 year old, the new therapy may be used with any dog afflicted with atopic dermatitis.
“By helping to relieve itching and the clinical signs associated with atopic dermatitis in affected dogs, it will also help restore quality of life for both atopic dogs and the people who love them,” said Arizona veterinary dermatologist Thomas Lewis II, DVM, Dipl. ACVD, who participated in clinical studies of the antibody therapy.
Apoquel has been in short supply since the pill was launched in January 2014, and Zoetis is not accepting new orders as it works on production issues.
“Apoquel is a great first choice for dogs suffering from all types of allergic disease, whereas Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapeutic is for dogs diagnosed with atopic dermatitis,” spokeswoman Colleen White said.
During the conditional license period, the therapeutic injection will be released to dermatology specialists “early in the fourth quarter,” Zoetis stated, and to general practitioners at some point.
The specialists will “gain more experience with this first antibody therapy in canine dermatology and acquire a deeper understanding of how veterinarians will use it in clinical practice,” Zoetis noted.
“This will help the company prepare for full licensure,” Zoetis added.