MENLO PARK, Calif., April 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A small team of scientists and veterinarians have discovered molecular structures that could be developed into a safe and effective anemia treatment for cats and dogs. Currently, there is no FDA approved treatment for this condition, which affects nearly 1 Million pets each year. After the devastating loss of their cat to severe anemia, Dr. Nicole and Tom Gerbe set out to find a safe alternative.
When their cat, Cassie, showed signs of anemia, she was treated with an anemia drug intended for humans. In the absence of medication designed specifically for pets, veterinarians are all too often faced with a tough choice of whether to treat an animal with human drugs. Human drugs can cure anemia in pets, but carry a high risk of a nearly irreversible autoimmune reaction. After several weeks of treatment, Dr. Nicole and Tom discovered that Cassie had a reaction to the drug. Instead of treating the anemia, the human drug had made it much worse.
Searching for a solution to save their cat, the couple located Dr. Pete Schatz, an expert in drug discovery, who had recently co-developed a new drug to treat anemia in humans. Unfortunately, this drug cures anemia in almost every species except for cats and dogs. Out of options, Cassie finally lost her battle, motivating Dr. Nicole, Dr. Pete and Tom to take on the challenge of developing a new anemia drug for pets.
Not being wealthy, the team contacted investors, pharmaceutical companies, venture capital groups, and others possibly interested in helping fund the project. The response from more than fifty potential investors was the same: "The risk is too high. Call us when you have proof-of-concept". After scraping up just enough funds from savings, friends, and bank loans, the team set up shop in a small, shared, state-of-the-art drug discovery lab in Silicon Valley.
Utilizing powerful drug discovery technology, co-invented by Dr. Pete, they screened over a Billion different molecular structures. They were looking for ones that bind to a particular cell surface receptor that stimulates red blood cell production. After several months of effort, the team discovered a number of positive "hits" that are the foundation for a powerful anemia drug for both cats and dogs. The team is now looking for additional funding to make this happen.
Anemia is more common in cats than dogs, but it affects both species. Kidneys generate a hormone called EPO, which regulates red blood cell production. If EPO sounds familiar, it's because drugs based on EPO have been used to gain unfair competitive advantage in professional sports. In human medicine, EPO drugs are used to treat anemia associated with kidney disease or cancer chemotherapy. As pets age, kidneys produce less of this hormone, causing a reduction in red blood cells.
Cats and dogs over 10 years of age should be checked by a veterinarian at least once per year. Simple blood and urine tests can detect early signs of kidney disease, anemia, and an array of other potential problems. Signs of anemia are weight loss, pale gums, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Discovering kidney disease early is the key. Through medication and simple changes in diet, the progression of kidney disease can be slowed, extending the lives of pets.
The entire development process could take four years, and cost upwards of $5 Million. The company has a number of investors lined up, plus a growing crowd-fund initiative where pet owners can help fund the research.
Learn more at http://www.companionsciences.com.
Companion Sciences, Inc.
1487 Yarrow Circle
Bellport, NY 11713
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SOURCE Companion Sciences, Inc.