dogsMan can also be a dog’s best friend.

That’s what entrepreneurs in the growing field of animal biotech are finding out.

Until now, many have considered pre-clinical trials conducted on animals as just a necessary stage required before products could be used in the clinic.

But if the products benefit animals why not market them to the veterinary market?

As it is often considerably quicker to get regulatory approval in the veterinary market than in the human market, more and more companies are discovering that there can be commercial opportunities available either by targeting  the veterinary market first, or by adapting human health products for animal uses.

Regenecure discovered during a pre-clinical trial on pet dogs and cats that the company’s regenerative bone membrane technology reduced healing time in severe bone fractures by more than 40 percent.  Veterinarians involved in the study reported that pet owners, who may have been reluctant to have their pets remain injured for lengthy periods of time, were more willing to proceed with the surgery on the basis of the accelerated recovery time.

Following these successful results the company decided to move ahead on two fronts: initiate a clinical trial in humans for using the technology as a bone stimulating aid for patients requiring dental implants, and begin to market the product to the veterinary market worldwide.

Recently founded Gour Medical  is a portfolio company working along similar lines. The company is actively in-licensing existing human biotechnology products that can be converted to the animal health markets. As founder Serge Goldner notes, the animal health industry is growing rapidly, with about 60 percent of products currently aimed at livestock and the rest at companion animals. Consulting firm Vetnosis reports that this global market represented a total of $22 billion in 2011 and is expected to grow by 6 percent each year in the near future.

Bernard Dichek

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