Kindred announces positive results from trial of appetite drug for cats

Kindred Biosciences ($KIN) said on May 16 that its drug to stimulate appetite in cats, KIND-010, performed well in a pivotal trial. And even though the announcement didn’t generate quite the fanfare on Wall Street as rival Aratana’s FDA approval of a similar drug for dogs did, Kindred CEO Richard Chin was still thrilled with the results.

KIND-010 is a transdermal formulation of a drug called mirtazapine. Owners administer the drug by rubbing it on the inside of their cats’ ears. In a placebo-controlled, two-week trial with 231 cats, those who received the drug saw a 4.07% increase in their body weight, versus a 0.29% increase among those on placebo, according to a press release announcing the results.

“This is a substantial change,” Chin said during a conference call with analysts after the announcement. To put it into perspective, he explained, “for humans it would equate to about 7 pounds in weight change over two weeks, or a pound every two days.” The drug was well tolerated, he added.

Chin declined to estimate the size of the market in dollars, saying only that inappetence in cats is so common that veterinarians see 7 cats a week on average with the condition. If left untreated, it can lead to liver failure, he said. He told analysts to expect the company to complete its filing for FDA approval later this year.

Kindred is weighing two different options for commercializing the drug. It may partner with a larger company, he said during the call, or it will build a small salesforce of between 5 and 15 people. They will target specialty cat clinics to start. When asked during the call how much it would cost Kindred to use its own salesforce, Chin would only say that the average sales rep costs about $200,000 a year.

Kindred has largely failed to get Wall Street on its side, despite a handful of positive developments in the last few months. Earlier this year, Kindred reported positive results from a pivotal trial of Zimeta (dipyrone injection), a drug to treat pyrexia, or fever, in horses. The company could win approval for that drug this year and launch it by the end of 2016 or early next year.

Still, the company has experienced plenty of setbacks. In January, it laid off 18 employees after a pivotal trial of its drug to treat postsurgical pain in dogs failed. It also abandoned another experimental molecule, AtoKin, which it was developing for atopic dermatitis in dogs.

Shares of Kindred rose about 6% in the three days following the announcement of its latest positive trial results to $3.95 but are way off their 12-month high of $7.91.

- here’s the release

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