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Bayer takes a closer look at pet allergy sector with NeuroCycle pact

Sep 17, 2018 - Animal Pharm
By Joseph Harvey

Bayer Animal Health and NeuroCycle Therapeutics (NCT) have signed a global license agreement to bring a companion animal allergy treatment to market.

Under the terms of the deal, Bayer will develop and commercialize compounds "based on knowledge and intellectual property licensed and controlled by NCT".

NCT is a privately-held start-up that is developing small molecule drugs that target the central nervous system. The company is focused on both human health and animal health. The Sheridan, Wyoming-based firm is currently working on treatments for atopic dermatitis and "other highly pruritic indications, orphan epilepsies and chronic pain".

NCT featured at 2017's Kansas City Animal Health Investment Forum, where it said early proof-of-concept studies in rodents and dogs have shown its itch medicine – the firm's flagship product candidate – can significantly reduce the frequency and duration of scratching within 30-60 minutes of dosing.

Bayer's human health business sells Claritin for relief of allergy symptoms. However, the company currently does not have any allergy products in its animal health portfolio.

Treating allergies in pets is an area attracting a lot of R&D in the animal health industry. Zoetis is prominent in this space, while US companion animal specialists Aratana Therapeutics and Kindred Biosciences are exploring the pet allergy sector. Elsewhere, Swedish firm Premune is building itself up as a companion animal dermatology and allergy specialist. The company is a shareholder in Nextmune, which is a developing business in the allergy diagnosis and treatment space.

Bayer harnessing partnership power

This agreement is just one example of the big players in animal health reaching out to partner with innovative start-up companies in R&D and commercialization collaborations.

Dr Douglas Hutchens, Bayer Animal Health's head of drug discovery, external innovation and chief veterinary officer, said: "Today's agreement underlines our strategy to combine the know-how from creative start-up companies like NCT with opportunities derived from Bayer's research.

"It is a major milestone on our way to complementing our portfolio with novel treatment options against allergic diseases for the companion animal sector. Now, we will focus on evolving these options from research and development to market maturity."

Bayer has recently seen the benefits of a partnership in the companion animal space, with Piedmont Animal Health gaining US authorization for Baytril Soft Chews – a companion animal antibiotic it developed on behalf of Bayer.

The company's strategy to work with start-ups is also apparent in the food-producing animals sector through its partnership with Animal Ethics.

Bayer is also harnessing expertise through R&D partnerships with more developed businesses. Earlier this year, it teamed up with Japanese firm Mitsui Chemicals Agro to work on parasite prevention.

Reprinted with permission of Animal Pharm News




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