Nexvet loss doubles as CEO vows ‘progress’ in advancing pipeline

Elderly dog

Dublin-based Nexvet ($NVET) is dedicated to its mission of translating some of the most important human oncology advances of the last decade to veterinary medicine, including monoclonal antibodies and immunotherapy. It’s a goal that continues to weigh on the company’s bottom line, as reflected in its most recent quarterly report.

In the fiscal third quarter ended March 31, Nexvet reported a net loss of $5.8 million, up from $2.7 million in the same period a year ago. The company spent $4.3 million on research and development during the quarter, according to a May 12 press release announcing the results.

But CEO Mark Heffernan is urging investors to focus on the company’s recent progress in R&D. During the quarter, Nexvet completed a pilot study of ranevetmab, its monoclonal antibody to treat pain from osteoarthritis in dogs, for example. The results confirmed safety and efficacy data from a previous study and the company is on track to submit the drug to the FDA for approval this summer, according to the earnings release.

Nexvet has also completed enrollment of a pilot study of a similar osteoarthritis drug for cats, NV-02. If the results support further development, the company will initiate a pivotal study later this year, it said. “Certainly, maintaining the development timelines for our lead product candidates is the top priority as we advance internal and partnered programs,” Heffernan said in the release.

Nexvet is also making progress towards bulking up its early-stage pipeline. Most recently, it reported success in developing an anti-PD-1 immunotherapy treatment for dogs with cancer, which it is working on with Japan-based Zenoaq. PD-1, an immune “checkpoint” that prevents immune cells from attacking cancer, has proven an effective target in human oncology. Nexvet and Zenoaq are preparing their “cananized” PD-1 inhibitor for testing in dogs.

In the earnings release, Nexvet also reported that it expects its new manufacturing facility in Tullamore, Ireland, to be fully operational by the middle of this year. The plant is gearing up to manufacture both ranevetmab and NV-02, the company says.

Shares of Nexvet fell more than 3.7% to $2.84 the day after the earnings release.

- here’s the earnings release

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