PetVivo ventures into burgeoning market for animal arthritis remedies

Dog with arthritis
PetVivo hopes to make a splash in the growing market for arthritis remedies for pets.

Minneapolis-based PetVivo ($PETV) was founded in 2013 with the goal of hunting down medical technologies originally developed to treat people and then acquiring them specifically for use in pets. Now the tiny company--which trades with a market value of just $10 million--is making its first big bet on one of the hottest markets in animal health: osteoarthritis treatments for cats and dogs.

PetVivo is preparing to launch its first product, Kush Canine, an injection of “spongy, protein-based particles” to treat osteoarthritis in dogs, according to a 10Q quarterly report it filed with the SEC on June 17. The particles are designed to act as artificial cartilage, protecting joints while also acting as a cushion against pain, the company says. PetVivo anticipates launching Kush Canine in the third quarter of this year. Two more Kush products could be launched later in the year for the equine market.

PetVivo is particularly optimistic about the canine arthritis market. In its filing, it estimates the disease affects 20 million dogs in the U.S. and Europe, equating to a $2.3 billion market opportunity.

But the company is pursuing this new venture with precious little resources. PetVivo’s net loss in the quarter ending June 30, 2015 jumped 55% year-over-year to $1.4 million, and it had just $16,000 in cash as of that period. PetVivo’s total working capital deficit is $2.6 million, according to the filing.

And even if the company hits its goal of getting its first product on the market this year, it will be facing fierce competition from several better-capitalized companies, not the least of which is Zoetis ($ZTS), maker of the popular pain drug for dogs, Rimadyl (carprophen). And Aratana Therapeutics ($PETX) is gearing up to launch Galliprant (grapiprant), a new type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for dogs that the FDA approved in March. PetVivo could also be facing competition from Nexvet ($NVET), which is in late-stage development of ranevetmab (NV-01), an injectable antibody to treat arthritis in dogs.

- here’s PetVivo’s 10Q

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