A workshop on Comparative Oncology, hosted by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA’s) One Health Committee (WSAVA OHC) during its 2019 World Congress in Toronto, has resulted in the publication of a manuscript that highlights the value of closer commercial relationships between the human and animal health pharmaceutical and biotech sectors to speed up the development of cancer treatments for both humans and dogs.

Drs Chand Khanna, DVM, PhD, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology) at Ethos Veterinary Health and Ethos Discovery, William Eward, DVM, MD, Diplomate, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery at Duke University, and Joelle Fenger DVM, PhD, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology) at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, led the workshop with the aim of continuing the development of a new strategy for enhancing cancer drug development using a One Health approach.

Many of the cancers afflicting companion animals also occur in humans, offering the opportunity to improve the lives of animal and human patients by studying cancers and treatments in both species in parallel. Delegates at the workshop included other members of the WSAVA OHC, academics and industry representatives working in cancer research with an emphasis on drug discovery.

The resulting manuscript has now been published in Annals of Medicine and Clinical Oncology. Entitled ‘Delivering Innovation to Oncology Drug Development through Cancer Drug DISCO (Development Incentive Strategy using Comparative Oncology): Perspectives, Gaps and Solutions’, it outlines new commercial perspectives on the value of closer relationships between the human and animal health pharmaceutical and biotech sectors to deliver a ‘win/win’ for successful cancer drug development in humans and dogs.

Dr Khanna commented: “The new perspective on Comparative Oncology we outline provides an innovative, self-funding approach to improve human cancer drug development and we are delighted that this new Development Incentivization Strategy using Comparative Oncology (DISCO) was initiated with the support of the WSAVA One Health Committee.

“We hope our recommendations will reposition Comparative Oncology canine trials as integral and parallel to human development and that this move will create opportunities for step-wise iteration and the improvements in the human cancer drug development path that are increasingly necessary.”

Dr David Bruyette of Anivive Inc. and manuscript co-author, added: "In our experience pharma/biotech commercial transactions including human health and animal health partners are not only feasible, but create important values and de-risking opportunities for both parties. Indeed, we have recently completed similar transactions in our development of a new drugs for oncology”.

"Commercial transactions may include cross licensing between animal health and human pharma/biotech, where translational data on the optimal use of drug candidates from studies in pet dogs with naturally occurring cancers inform human trials, as well as pet trials for regulatory approval in animal health markets," stated Dr David Warshawsky, Founder and Chairman of Vuja De Sciences and Drug DISCO pioneer. He added: "This approach is a core value of our novel cancer drug development strategy."

“The field of Comparative Oncology as part of cancer drug development stands out as a successful example of the One Health approach to medicine and this new manuscript presents a nuanced and novel strategy to deliver this translational opportunity,” said Michael Lappin DVM, PhD, DACVIM, Chair of WSAVA One Health Committee.

The authors and the WSAVA OHC plan to use the manuscript as the springboard for further new initiatives to expand awareness of Comparative Oncology and to drive forward its use to create the proposed and necessary closer alignment of human and animal health pharma and biotech.

The WSAVA’s One Health Committee was founded by Emeritus Professor Michael Day to ensure the prominence of the companion animal-human interface in the global One Health agenda. Its members include veterinarians and human doctors, together with representation from the OIE and CDC. The work of the One Health Committee is kindly supported by the Purina Institute.

The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 113 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including pain management, nutrition and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide.

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