Properly evaluating veterinary drugs

May 22nd 2018

A new start-up has recently emerged at the Biopark: BoneVet. Its goal is to develop, evaluate and market promising veterinary treatments. We have met with BoneVet CEO Enrico Bastianelli.

You were at the helm of Bone Therapeutics for 10 years. How was the transition from human drugs to veterinary drugs?

Enrico Bastianelli: ‘Developing human drugs always involves an animal testing phase. At Bone Therapeutics, some of the products we developed proved to be especially effective on small laboratory animals, and so we thought they might be ideally suited to treat certain osteoarticular disorders in pets.'

Do these kinds of drugs not already exist?

‘Some products are already on the market, but regulations on veterinary drugs are less stringent and more loosely defined than for human drugs. For osteoarticular applications, the products that are currently available have not been vetted and their effectiveness has not been proven through strict clinical trials. Yet there is high demand among veterinarians for drugs that have been rigorously evaluated. This is a gap that BoneVet intends to fill, by conducting proper clinical trials. Our eventual goal is to build a portfolio of innovative veterinary products that we can market.’

How will you conduct these trials, and with whom?

‘To start with, we are collaborating with CER Groupe in Marloie, for the pre-clinical phase. Once the drugs are developed and produced, we will work with several centres for veterinary medicine: the universities of Liège and Ghent, as well as other centres located in France such as the veterinary school of Nantes. Our objective is to gather sufficiently large cohorts for our clinical trials.’

What are the indications of the first two products you are working on?

‘The first drug is meant to prevent and treat ligament or tendon lesions, especially lesions of the knee's cruciate ligament, which many dogs suffer from. The second drug helps rebuild bone tissue. Animal surgery is often very interventional, and every little helps to reconstruct bones and accelerate healing.'

What are your objectives in terms of deadlines?

‘We should start the first clinical trial in early 2019. If all goes as planned, we hope to put our first products on the market in 3 to 5 years, which is a quick turnaround compared to the timelines involved in developing human drugs!’