Can startup PetVivo survive the ultracompetitive canine arthritis market?

Dog with arthritis
PetVivo will face competitive pressure in the burgeoning market for canine arthritis treatments.

PetVivo ($PETV), founded in 2013 in Minneapolis and trading over-the-counter, is running out of resources as it gets set to launch an arthritis treatment for dogs. It’s an unenviable position to be in, especially considering how competitive the canine osteoarthritis market is shaping up to be.

For the quarter ended June 30, PetVivo reported a net loss of $626,226 on negligible revenues. Although the company did significantly cut its loss over the same period a year ago, it has a working capital deficit of $1.6 million. PetVivo’s quarterly report reveals that it is in default on some of its loans and that a recent independent auditors’ review expressed doubt about whether it can continue as a “going concern.”

During this quarter, PetVivo plans to launch Kush Canine, according to the filing. Kush is an injection of protein-based particles that the company says act as a cushion of sorts, protecting joints while also relieving pain. The company plans to introduce a similar product for horses in the fourth quarter. The injections must be administered by veterinarians, and PetVivo’s management team believes the products will be appealing because they can help expand veterinary practice revenues and margins, according to the 10-Q.

PetVivo went public in March 2014 via reverse merger into a shell company. At the time, animal health IPOs were hot, with startups like Aratana Therapeutics ($PETX) and Kindred Biosciences ($KIN) catching the fancy of investors. But PetVivo has not garnered nearly as much support from investors, as it struggles to get its first product on the market.

If the company reaches its goal of getting Kush Canine out this quarter, it will face a wall of competition from, first and foremost, Zoetis’ ($ZTS) Rimadyl (carprophen) pill and its generic equivalent. Then there’s Aratana, which won approval for its new canine arthritis drug, Galliprant (grapiprant), earlier this year. The company’s co-promotion partner, Eli Lilly’s ($LLY) Elanco, is expected to launch that drug by the end of the year. And even more competition could come in the future from Nexvet ($NVET), which is in late-stage trials of ranevetmab, a monoclonal antibody it's developing to treat arthritis pain in dogs.

- here’s PetVivo’s quarterly filing

Related articles:
PetVivo ventures into burgeoning market for animal arthritis remedies
Aratana promises full transition to commercial entity after strong Q2
Aratana shares soar on first FDA approval of canine arthritis drug
Aratana hands Elanco rights to osteoarthritis med for dogs
Nexvet opens manufacturing facility as it preps for dog and cat trials