Media Coverage

US biotech firm Torigen looking to form partnerships for personalized cancer treatment

Sep 04, 2018 - Animal Pharm
By Daniel Willis

Kansas City Animal Health Investment Forum 2018 victor Torigen Pharmaceuticals has announced its intention to form partnerships within the animal health industry.

The Farmington, Connecticut-based company is developing an autologous immunotherapeutic cancer vaccine for dogs – VVax-001 – and is expecting industry collaborations to help it to record $28.9 million in revenues by 2022.

Further financial targets over the five-year stretch include a $1.3m spend in R&D, a $4.7m increase in sales and marketing expenditure and earnings of $10.2m.

The firm's cancer immunotherapeutic is created from the patient's own tumor cells, with the treatment stimulating a specific immune response against the cancerous cells. VVax-001 is processed in a centralized facility, to ensure batch consistency.

According to Torigen, less than 10% of the 250 patients evaluated in its studies experienced any adverse effects.

"The majority of owners elect to surgically remove the tumor, with the veterinarian caveat that the tumor will reoccur in only a matter of weeks," the firm stated. "Thus, some pet owners elect not to move forward with surgery and do not choose a treatment option for their pet.

"In terms of efficacy 70% of those treated exceeded their prognosis by an average of 2.14 times, meaning a significant amount of patients treated lived longer than patients treated with surgery alone, by around twice the amount."

Torigen aims to tackle this by offering a safe and affordable non-surgical treatment that can be provided at the veterinary clinic.

The company is currently working closely with 50 veterinary clinics across the US that are offering the VVax-001 vaccine, with a goal to grow that base to over 300 clinics by the end of 2018.

As a cancer treatment, Torigen's main competition is chemotherapy and radiation, which have an average cost of between $5,000-$20,000 for an indeterminate path of treatment, coupled with exacting negative side effects. Torigen aims to offer an alternative option to clients concerned with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, while also being budget-sensitive.

Building sales team

By 2019, the company intends to hire small, regionally-focused sales teams to focus on creating great relationships with veterinarians – alongside following up on patients who have used the immunotherapeutic treatment. 

Torigen also expects to appoint a chief commercial officer by the third quarter of 2018.

Ashley Kalinauskas, chief executive and founder of Torigen, told attendees to the investment forum: "Each year in the US, over four million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer – this is one of the biggest problems facing the veterinary industry today.

"There exists a really big opportunity to provide something that is helping these pets once they have been diagnosed."

To date, the start-up has sourced around $0.8m in funding from Connecticut Innovations, UConn Innovation Fund, Talon Capital, Kema Capital and other private investors.

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News







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