Veterinary product pipeline: Fixes for your biggest frustrations may be on the horizon
Eighteen companies from around the globe with early-stage products were invited to present recently at this year’s KC Animal Health Corridor Investment Forum in Kansas City. The forum functions similarly to the show Shark Tank in that emerging companies pitch their products and ideas to potential investors, as well as to a panel of judges that picks one winner to receive the Innovation Award (and its accompanying $10,000 prize money).
This year’s presenting companies offered solutions to a wide range of veterinary issues. Here’s an overview of some of what’s up-and-coming in companion animal medicine:
Onsite PCR diagnostic system
The Accutas diagnostic system uses patented hydrogel technology to identify the DNA or RNA of a pathogen in a patient sample. Developers say results are fast and accurate. For a fecal test, for example, hands-on time is less than five minutes, and results are ready within 60 to 90 minutes. In one study, the technology found tapeworms in 54 percent of dogs, whereas standard fecal float found just a 12 percent positive rate. The system works with any standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instrument. Most practices don’t have this equipment, developers acknowledge—but units start at between $4,000 and $5,000 and are about the size of a bread box.
Powder weight-loss supplement for dogs
Trimauxil is a powder weight-loss supplement that is sprinkled on a dog’s food once a day. The prescription-only supplement works by reducing the size and number of white fat cells and is part of a three-component program that includes a veterinarian-directed diet and owner support via Trimauxil’s app. “It’s like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig for dogs,” one developer said. The product is being targeted toward obese and very overweight pets.
Software for collecting medical histories outside the clinic
FuturePet’s software platform helps veterinary teams gather complete medical histories from owners before a veterinary visit. The system is designed using a natural language text interface to automate the work currently being undertaken by client service representatives, technicians and other members of the veterinary team. This allows veterinary professionals to be more prepared for visits and cuts down on the amount of time needed to gather a patient’s history in the exam room.
Fluorescent light treatment for skin and soft-tissue disorders
Phovia is a noninvasive, nonthermal treatment for skin and soft-tissue disorders that combines an LED light with a topical photo converter (gel). This process delivers a targeted fluorescent light treatment that promotes healing by breaking down biofilm, affecting proinflammatory mediators and activating molecular cascades involved in the healing process, developers say. Klox plans to position Phovia as a treatment for pyoderma and wound care first, followed by otitis and oral health.
Spinal-cord-level solution for itchy dogs
NeuroCycle’s NCT-10004 is an oral tablet that uses a novel central-nervous-system-based mechanism to combat all kinds of itch in dogs—not just allergic itch, representatives say. It can be used on chronic cases or as needed, and because of its different mechanism of action (which involves blocking the itch signal from reaching the brain), it doesn’t weaken the animal’s immune system and is well-suited as a component of combination therapy. What’s more, the product is inexpensive to manufacture, which will help keep the cost affordable, developers say.
Stem cell benefits in a bottle
Stem Vita has created a process of using adult allogenic stem cell lines to develop stem cell factors that are stable at room temperature for three years. The stem cell factors can be used in wound dressings, mucoadhesive films and tablets, eye drops and skin care products. Testing has focused on horses, but Stem Vita hopes to include dogs and cats soon.
Brain games for bored pups
But of all the noteworthy products presented, PupPod took home the coveted Innovation Award. PupPod (the product and the company name are the same) is an interactive, smartphone-connected puzzle toy that uses sounds, lights, sensors and positive reinforcement to keep dogs mentally and physically stimulated, its creators say. The toy, which increases in difficulty over time, can be paired with a Bluetooth treat dispenser that rewards dogs for solving puzzles.
And if you’re thinking to yourself, “By golly, that looks a KONG to me!” you’re spot on. PupPod’s technology is housed in a red KONG Wobbler and the two companies have partnered together to produce the prize-winning product.