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Groundbreaking Gene Therapy to Cure and Even Reverse Effects of Mitral Valve Disease in Dogs

Work on a revolutionary new treatment for Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) in dogs has been given the go ahead with potentially life-changing implications for many breeds where a majority suffer from the health and life limiting condition.

The news that Phibro Animal Health Corporation (Nasdaq:PAHC) and Rejuvenate Bio, Inc. have announced a collaboration for the development and commercialisation of the gene therapy for MVD in dogs is welcomed hugely by pet owners and breeders.

The incidence of MVD varies widely but is believed to be present in about 7% of all dogs and can be as high as 80% for some breeds such as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Rejuvenate Bio has received support from the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club for this research.

MVD is caused by a malfunction of the Mitral Valve which allows blood to flow backward from the heart’s lower chamber (ventricle) to the upper chamber (atrium). The condition often results in and is diagnosed by a characteristic ‘murmur’. The disease may have few or no outward effects at first, but over months or years can progress to congestive heart failure and death.

Current therapies have been proven to slow the course of MVD, but no therapy is available to stop the disease or reverse the damage. The objective of the collaboration between Phibro and Rejuvenate Bio is to develop and commercialize a novel gene therapy with the intent to not only stop MVD before it results in heart failure but reverse some or all the damage done to the heart.

“We expect to file for a conditional approval as early as 2023. We view this as a first step to tackling numerous age-related diseases that affect the animals we love.”

Thomas Zerzan, President of the Companion Animal Division at Phibro Animal Health, said: “We have confidence that our collaboration with Rejuvenate Bio will meet our goal to bring about an effective gene therapy that will revolutionize the way veterinarians treat MVD, adding healthy, happy years to the life of a dog who suffers from this disease.”

Daniel Oliver, CEO of Rejuvenate Bio, commented: “We are excited to work with Phibro to make the treatment of MVD a reality. We expect to file for a conditional approval as early as 2023. We view this as a first step to tackling numerous age-related diseases that affect the animals we love.”

The effort to develop a gene therapy for MVD is based on research and discoveries made in the lab at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute by genetics scientist and startup founder, George Church.