Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The startup company Scout Bio is building a war chest in preparation for the development of veterinary therapeutics targeting chronic kidney disease, chronic pain and atopic dermatitis.
The Philadelphia biotechnology company has raised $20 million in Series B financing from a group of investment firms, among them Digitalis Ventures, RiverVest Venture Partners, GreenSpring Associates, Frazier Healthcare Partners, Adage Capital Management and Correlation Ventures.
Scout Bio reported it will focus on using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector technology administered through a single intramuscular injection.
“Scout’s mission is to leverage advances in gene therapy to dramatically elevate the standard of care for multiple areas of veterinary medicine that currently rely on chronically administered medicines,” said CEO Mark Heffernan, Ph.D. “Our approach is designed to provide improved patient outcomes via therapies that have a sustained duration of effect from a one-time dose, aligning with the significant market need for longer-lasting pet medications that improve compliance and convenience.”
The company is partnering with the gene therapy program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where co-founder Jim Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., is a faculty member and researcher.
Scout Bio stated that its “most advanced therapeutic candidate is designed to deliver long-term expression of feline erythropoietin (EPO) in cats with anemia associated with chronic kidney disease.”
“This condition leads to a progressive deterioration in quality of life, has no FDA-approved therapy, and current standards of care have severe drawbacks,” the company added. “Scout has recently demonstrated statistically significant increased red blood cell counts (an EPO biomarker) in cats for months after a single intramuscular injection, and has initiated a clinical pilot field study for this program.”