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Vetigenics begins canine bladder cancer trial

Animal Health | Headline Analysis

US start-up Vetigenics has commenced its pilot clinical trial for a canine anti-cPD1 monoclonal antibody.

The company said the first two dogs with bladder cancer have now received the VGS-002 fully canine anti-cPD1 monoclonal antibody as part of study conducted by Ethos Vet in the US.

Vetigenics noted the study is fully funded and currently recruiting patients. VGS-002 boosts anti-tumor T cell responses to control or eliminate tumor burden. It is the canine version of an anti-PD1 immunotherapy that has been shown to treat a subset of humans afflicted with different cancer types.

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based start-up has developed a canine phage display platform that generates single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) or ‘Canibodies’. These are isolated from canine genetic material, making them 100% canine in origin and structure. The platform is estimated to host over 40 billion scFvs. Last year, Vetigenics’ fully canine anti-CTLA4 monoclonal antibody for oral melanoma entered trials.

In 2022, Vetigenics secured its second discovery partnership with an unnamed firm for its companion animal therapeutic antibody platform. This was in addition to an existing agreement with Merck Animal Health. Founded in 2017, the start-up holds exclusive access to the Canibody platform developed by University of Pennsylvania’s Professor Don Siegel, who is also a co-founder of Vetigenics.

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