Sans IPO, Jaguar forges ahead with gastro drugs for calves and horses

A foal with its mother--Courtesy of Rutgers University

A month ago, some analysts speculated the honeymoon for animal health companies on Wall Street might be over when Jaguar Animal Health cut its initial public offering target by 26%--and then cancelled the IPO altogether. But even without the $51.75 million it was hoping to raise in its downsized IPO, Jaguar continues to move its gastrointestinal products for pets and livestock through its pipeline.

Last Thursday, Silicon Valley-based Jaguar announced it has completed a safety study of its investigational non-prescription product Neonorm Foal for the treatment of diarrhea in young horses. The results were so positive that Jaguar CEO Lisa Conte predicted in a press release that the product would be ready for a commercial launch in 2015.

"We're very encouraged by the results of this study," Conte said, adding, "there is a need for new, innovative products to improve gut health and normalize stool formation in these young horses."

Neonorm Foal is a paste that's derived from a botanical extract and that comes in cinnamon, apple and molasses flavors. It is one of several Neonorm products Jaguar is developing. A version for calves is currently undergoing field trials, and Jaguar is also planning a study of an adult equine formulation of the product, according to the press release.

Jaguar is also developing two prescription drugs for horses with the active ingredient crofelemer, which comes from the same botanical source that inspired Neonorm, according to the company. That ingredient is also the basis of Canalevia, Jaguar's lead prescription product candidate for treating diarrhea in dogs.

The company is clearly optimistic about its commercial prospects. It recently signed a multiyear distribution agreement with Vedco, which includes Canalevia and Neonorm for calves, according to a Vedco press release acquired by Brakke Consulting's Animal News & Notes.

Until the animal health IPO market regains its luster, however, Jaguar will be funding its pipeline with cash on hand. The company raised $5 million in a Series A financing in February, with its largest shareholders being Napo Pharmaceuticals and BioVeda China Fund. Still, money will be tight: Jaguar had about $4.3 million in cash as of June 30, according to its S-1, and it had run up a $4.2 million loss in the first 6 months of the year.

- here's the Neonorm Foal release