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Virbac teams with QBiotics on cancer product

FDA-approved Stelfonta is an injectable treatment for certain mast cell tumors in dogs.

Virbac teams with QBiotics on cancer product

Virbac Corp. is getting into the veterinary oncology business through a partnership with QBiotics, the developer of an FDA-approved treatment for canine mast cell tumors.

The prescription product, Stelfonta (tigilanol tiglate), is an intratumoral injection indicated for use on non-metastatic cutaneous mast cell tumors anywhere on the body or subcutaneous mast cell tumors located at or distal to the canine elbow.

“Although surgery remains the standard of care for the majority of tumors, I believe Stelfonta will change our approach to controlling localized mast cell tumors in many ways,” said Chad M. Johannes, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM, Oncology), an Iowa State University veterinary oncologist, who spoke on behalf of Virbac.

“Stelfonta is administered by injection directly into the tumor,” Dr. Johannes said. “Generally, dogs undergoing treatment do not require sedation or anesthesia, which carries a potential increased risk for older dogs and brachycephalic breeds.”

According to Virbac, 88% of dogs injected with Stelfonta achieved resolution of the target tumor within 28 days after the first or second treatment.

Australia-based QBiotics developed Stelfonta using a chemical compound called phorbol ester, which is extracted from the seeds of the blushwood tree, a rainforest shrub. Terms of the partnership with Virbac were not revealed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Stelfonta in mid-November. European regulators authorized the product in early 2020.

“This is the first approval for an intratumoral injection to treat non-metastatic mast cell tumors in dogs,” said Steven M. Solomon, DVM, MPH, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “This approval provides an additional treatment option to help treat local mast cell tumors on or under the skin in dogs.”

Virbac, the maker of antibiotics, heartworm drugs and other small animal medications, is based in Westlake, Texas.


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