Nexvet and Zenoaq Enter Research and Development Collaboration

DUBLIN, Ireland, July 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nexvet Biopharma (Nasdaq:NVET), a veterinary biologics developer, today announced the signing of a research and development agreement with leading Japanese animal health company Zenoaq (Nippon Zenyaku Kogyo Co., Ltd.) to develop a number of therapeutic biologics for companion animals. The biologics will target undisclosed proteins involved in the areas of immuno-oncology and allergy/inflammation.

Key aspects of the collaboration include:

  1. Nexvet will apply its PETization technology to Zenoaq monoclonal antibodies ("mAbs") already identified as having therapeutic potential in companion animals
  2. Development costs will be shared equally
  3. Zenoaq will retain European and Asian marketing rights to developed products, with Nexvet retaining rights to the rest of the world, including the United States.

"Zenoaq has identified exciting new biologic candidates for the treatment of several conditions with significant unmet medical need. This opportunity allows us to rapidly create therapeutics that will be developed for veterinary indications, by applying our platform technology to mAbs whose targets have been validated by compelling data in humans," said Dr. Mark Heffernan, Chief Executive Officer of Nexvet.

"Nexvet's proprietary PETization technology is a unique, robust approach to overcoming the interspecies conversion challenges presented by biologic drug design. They are the logical partner for rapid, risk-reduced development in this emerging area of veterinary pharmaceuticals," said Mr. Keiichi Takano, President of Zenoaq.

"Establishing this collaboration in the field of therapeutic biologics is part of our strategy to deliver a pipeline of innovative recombinant protein drugs for companion animals. As a demonstration of our commitment to this strategy, in 2014 Zenoaq completed a new commercial-scale recombinant protein manufacturing facility in Fukushima," concluded Mr. Takano.

The research excellence of both Nexvet and Zenoaq was recognized in the 2014 Animal Pharm awards which awarded Zenoaq Best Company in Asia/Australasia, and Nexvet with Best Start-Up and Best Innovation (for its PETization technology).

About immuno-oncology and allergy/inflammation

The field of immuno-oncology, which relies on harnessing the immune system to fight tumors, has seen significant human clinical advances in recent years. This approach may provide therapies which have efficacy in a variety of tumor types, without the harsh side-effects associated with common chemotherapies. Epidemiological studies have indicated that cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10 years of age, with 50 percent of older dogs developing cancer and approximately one in four dogs eventually dying from cancer.

Improved and increased veterinary care provided to companion animals during their lifetime has led to veterinarians seeing a higher incidence of conditions associated with aging (such as osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease), or cohabitation with humans. Cohabitation can be a contributing factor to some chronic allergic diseases and inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or atopic dermatitis. Many of these conditions require long-term treatment.

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements in this press release other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the future results of operations and financial position, business strategy, research programs, prospective products, product approvals, timing and likelihood of success, market opportunities, plans and objectives of management for future operations, and future results of current and anticipated products. These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to materially differ from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. The words "anticipate," "expect," "may," "objective," "plan," "will" or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our business and the industry in which we operate, and management's beliefs and assumptions are not guarantees of future results, performance or achievements. Factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially include those summarized under Risk Factors in our reports on Forms 10-Q and the other documents we file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

About Zenoaq (

Established in 1946, Zenoaq is a leading animal health company in Japan. With a workforce of nearly 700 employees and the generation of ¥24.2 billion in sales (approximately US$195 million) in the 2014 fiscal year, Zenoaq has a solid business model focused on R&D, manufacturing and importation of animal health products, contributing to a broad product portfolio for production and companion animals. In addition, Zenoaq, headquartered in Fukushima, has the widest distribution network for veterinary products in Japan, supported by a strong direct sales force. In June 2014, Zenoaq launched Allermmune HDM, a first-of-its-kind desensitization therapy for house dust mite-induced canine atopic dermatitis, reflecting the company's increased focus on an innovative pipeline for the companion animal market. Zenoaq's partners include Merial, Mars, Intervet, DSM Nutrition as well as IDEXX Laboratories.

About Nexvet (

Nexvet is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on transforming the therapeutic market for companion animals, such as dogs and cats, by developing and commercializing novel, species-specific biologics. Nexvet's proprietary PETization™ platform is designed to rapidly create monoclonal antibodies ("mAbs") that are recognized as "self" or "native" by an animal's immune system, a property Nexvet refers to as "100% species-specificity." Nexvet's product candidates also build upon the safety and efficacy data from clinically tested human therapies, thereby reducing clinical risk and development cost. Nexvet's core platform and drug discovery activities are conducted at its veterinary biologics research centre in Melbourne, Australia.

CONTACT: Further information: Nexvet Investors Candice Knoll Blueprint Life Science Group +1 415-375-3340 Ext. 105 Media Lynn Granito Berry & Company Public Relations +1 212-253-8881 Zenoaq Mark Micallef International Business Unit +81 3-5282-2485 or Akemi Sakai International Business Unit +81 3-5282-2485

Source:Nexvet Biopharma plc