Media Coverage

Aratana signals growing clinic access: 'Two-thirds of vets are using Galliprant'


Mar 16, 2018 - Animal Pharm
By Joseph Harvey
Animal Pharm
March 16, 2018

Aratana Therapeutics has been commercializing three products for around a year now with the Kansas-based firm recording its first significant annual revenues. Animal Pharm editor Joseph Harvey spoke to president and chief executive Steven St. Peter in Boston following the release of the company's most recent financial results about Aratana's success is accessing clinics
.

Aratana's recent financial figures showed it is the first animal health biotech to report success in establishing solid turnover.

However, Steven St. Peter believes the revenues are just a continuation of the progress the firm has made with its "proven ability to access innovation and translate that into regulatory success".

"In our seven years, we've had three FDA approvals and in the last four years we've had the only two new chemical entities approved as pet therapeutics," he told Animal Pharm. "Our goal was to have a major influence on innovation and we've made great progress in doing that.

"Two-thirds of companion animal vets in the US are using Galliprant. This means two-thirds of vets know the Aratana brand. Galliprant is also the second most stocked osteoarthritis pain tablet in the US with 12% market share.

"Galliprant has a reorder rate of around 80%. We believe we're not just taking market share; we believe we're growing the osteoarthritis pain market. We have the only co-promotion deal in animal health. We're excited because we're really impacting this industry. Co-promotion is unusual in animal health but usual in human health, so we've borrowed that paradigm.

"According to market research, 95% of customers are satisfied with Galliprant and cite its safety profile as the top reason for stocking.

"Of course, we've had operational setbacks with manufacturing and delays. We've dealt with these – any strong company can overcome things like this."

In addition to harnessing Elanco's powerful salesforce for Galliprant, Aratana now has 35 of its own sales team members in the field throughout the top 40 metro statistical areas in the US. Elanco reported approximately $24m of Galliprant revenues in 2017, while Aratana posted sales of $20.9m, which includes $15.5m in sales of Galliprant to Elanco prior to Elanco assuming manufacturing responsibility.

Other products also building momentum

Outside of Galliprant, Dr St. Peter highlighted the uptake of the firm's other products – Nocita and Entyce.

Nocita sales was launched in late 2016 and made 2017 revenues of $2.8m. Dr St. Peter said: "We're growing repeat customers with approximately two‐thirds of revenue from customers re‐ordering."

He also said Nocita may benefit from a shift away from narcotics in the veterinary channel due to a reduction in opioids mandated by the US Drug Enforcement Agency. Nocita is positioned as an alternative to opioids. Aratana continued to see growth in Nocita sales during the first part of 2018.

Entyce is currently being used in over 3,600 clinics. The product has been shipped to "all three large national distributors plus several regional distributors". In the fourth quarter of 2017, Entyce made $1.3m. In its first 60 days of sale, the product entered around 15% of applicable veterinary clinics.

Further progress in 2018?

Investment firm William Blair recently said of Aratana: "We believe the big question mark continues to be the company’s need to raise additional cash at an already washed out stock price."

However, Dr St. Peter told Animal Pharm the company is expecting to earn a further $15m milestone from Galliprant in late 2018, which would extend Aratana's runway. He also pointed out the company raised approximately $12m from the sale of shares in January.

In December 2017, the USDA granted Aratana conditional licensure for canine osteosarcoma vaccine Live Listeria Vector (AT-014) for the treatment of dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma one year of age or older. The company has commenced an extended field safety study at approximately two dozen veterinary oncology practice groups across the US to help the product progress from conditional licensure to full licensure.

In the investor call prior to Animal Pharm's meeting with Aratana, Dr St. Peter said: "In the past few weeks, Aratana sold its first dose of AT-014 to a study site. While the payments received from this therapeutic during the clinical study will be very modest in 2018, we are pleased to have advanced to this phase. We believe the success as a leader in pet therapeutics will require a portfolio of compelling general practice therapeutics complemented with specialty therapeutics."

One candidate Aratana will not be pursuing is AT-016 – an investigational adipose-derived allogeneic stem cell therapeutic for the control of clinical signs associated with osteoarthritis in dogs.

In the investor call, Dr St. Peter said: "The licensure of AT-016 shared results of a pivotal study that did not achieve protocol to find efficacy success criteria. In January 2018, we exercise our right to terminate the license agreement effective as of mid-April 2018. Hence, we do not anticipate committing future resources to AT-016."

Over the rest of the year, Aratana will be focusing on further growing the sales base for its commercialized products. From a product development point-of-view, the company hopes to continue work on registering its products in Europe and gaining a Nocita label extension for cats. Aratana also aims to complete study enrolment for its feline weight management candidate (AT-002 capromorelin) before the end of the year.

Additionally, Aratana is conducting a pilot field study for AT-018, which is a CRTH2 antagonist for canine atopic dermatitis. This study should be fully enrolled in 2018.

Dr St. Peter also told investors: "Aratana intends to initiate a pilot field study on AT-006 for the treatment of feline herpes virus induced ophthalmic conditions. We also plan to initiate a laboratory study for AT-017 which is an investigational therapeutic that uses of Live Listeria based antigen delivery system with potential in canine lymphoma."

The company is also on the hunt for more in-licensing opportunities. This was evidenced by Aratana's recent deal with Japanese firm AskAt.

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News

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