The Winnipeg biotech company, Kane Biotech, has struck its first commercial arrangement that could eventually be worth tens of millions of dollars to the company over the next decade.
Kane has entered into an exclusive licence and distribution agreement with the North American subsidiary of U.K.-based Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc for Dechra to exclusively market, distribute and ultimately manufacture Kane’s oral care and dermatology products to the North American veterinary market.
Kane has previously launched its veterinary oral pet care product as StrixNB and was just in the process of launching it in the United States.
Kane CEO Mark Ahrens-Townsend said it is exciting news for the company, which has been active in the research and development sector for most of its 15 years.
"It is the first commercial agreement the company has ever signed," said Ahrens-Townsend. "Kane is a small biotech company and that is what we want as our focus. These guys (Dechra) have all the distributors lined up and 40 salespeople on the street in North America. We have a small team that has done a great job in marketing and branding our product, but these guys give us instant access to a huge market."
StrixNB has been shown in several studies to reduce plaque and tartar in companion pets.
Dechra has also licensed Kane’s dermatology technology, called DispersinB, which does not yet have a commercial application.
Dechra’s deal with Kane is for the two companies to work together to develop dermatology applications with DispersinB for the companion pet market.
Dechra, which generated revenue in 2016 of $406 million, is a leader in both the veterinary dermatology and oral care markets — two of the largest veterinary pharmaceutical categories.
Dechra will rebrand the oral care product and will launch it in the United States under a new name and eventually phase out the StrixNB name in Canada.
Mike Eldred, president of Dechra North America, said the company is looking forward to adding Kane’s clinically-proven, innovative technology that is safe and efficacious to its offerings.
"New technology is always needed to continue to grow our product lines," Eldred said.
"It will be very important for us to integrate these two technologies into our product line. Those two market segments are very important for us to continue to grow the business and help us further differentiate ourselves from the competition."
There are about 30,000 veterinary offices in the U.S. and Dechra will soon start to include its new oral care product in its pitch to vets.
Kane will continue to market its bluestem brand of oral care products to over-the-counter pet product stores and will continue to seek partnerships in distribution in that sector.
It will also continue to manufacture bluestem in Winnipeg. Ahrens-Townsend said that while it is able to manufacture small quantities it would not be able to handle larger volumes and in time Dechra will also take over manufacturing.
Ahrens-Townsend said it is an exciting opportunity for Kane.
"Over the 10 years of the agreement this could be worth tens of millions of dollars to our company," he said.
"We have started with North America but there are opportunities for other products and other technologies and other things we can do with them where our technology can have applications."
Kane has more than 60 patents and patents-pending.