Permanent And Non-Surgical Sterilization Technology for Female Mammals

Cat SterilizationSterilization procedures, most commonly known as spaying or neutering, in female dogs and cats, is a routine, but invasive surgical operation. Most pet cats and dogs and are spayed at around 6 months prior to their first “season”. While routine, this procedure often causes anxiety for pet owners and is also a considerable expense.

What is the opportunity?

Avivagen has entered into an option to acquire an exclusive license to a technology for the permanent sterilization of female mammals that may eliminate the need for surgical spaying. An initial proof of concept study has commenced with results expected late 2014.

VivamuneForVetsThe invention is a novel and drug-based means of accomplishing this longstanding veterinary goal and could prove effective for companion animal sterilization, control of feral and wild animal populations and certain livestock and human health applications.

What are the potential benefits?

Avivagen and the inventor believe the technology should be suitable for use in a single-administration product presentation that would make it appealing to pet owners, animal control organizations and veterinarians alike.

In real terms this could mean that rather than needing to be admitted for a surgical operation, female pets could be sterilized, most likely, with an injection at a regular veterinary visit.

In addition to pets, the potential applications are immense. Stray, feral and wild animals currently culled to control their numbers would be manageable in a completely humane fashion. In the US an estimated 5 to 8 million animals are euthanized in shelters across the country every year. A safe, effective and permanent non-surgical sterilization could greatly reduce these numbers.

What is the potential market size?

As an indicative market, United States pet population estimates are available from the American Pet Products Association (APPA). It estimates that there are 83.3 million owned dogs and 95.6 million owned cats in the US and suggests 83% of dogs and 91% of cats are spayed or neutered.

Avivagen believes that a safe and effective non-surgical sterilization product would replace spaying operations – avoiding the health risks, logistical challenges and high prices related to the current invasive surgical procedure.

The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association of Canada reports that the average cost for a cat spay is $547 and for a dog spay is $626 in 2013. *

If we exercise the option to acquire the license, we are hopeful that it will help animals and their caregivers, while also possibly becoming the largest new veterinary product in a long time.”
Cameron Groome, CEO and President of Avivagen

International Animal Health JournalIn a recent issue of the prestigious International Animal Health Journal asked Avigagen’s Tracy Gillett, BVSc, Marketing and Technical Services Manager, to write an article on the severity of the situation. Entitled “Pet Overpopulation: A Global Crisis”, the article outlines the depth of the problem.

“The current estimate of homeless dogs worldwide is over 500 million, with the number of homeless cats likely even greater. The message is unequivocally clear: the most effective solution to companion animal overpopulation is widespread sterilisation. However the issue with stray and feral companion animals is that execution of widespread surgical spay and neuter programmes are prohibitively costly to local and national governments.”

Read the article online.

Who is the inventor of this potential new technology?

The inventor is Dr. Duncan Hockley, currently Director of the Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) of the University of Saskatchewan and a veterinarian who is dealing at arm’s length with Avivagen.

The VMC is a state of the art 24/7 emergency and referral animal hospital offering a wide range of clinical services across western Canada. It is also a centre of excellence for the undergraduate and graduate training programs of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Hockley is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) with more than 20 years of experience in veterinary practice, focused on reproductive physiology. The invention was made independent of the VMC and University on a fully-disclosed basis.

“If it proves out, I believe this drug-based approach is likely to transform animal care and veterinary practice. In the future, we could have far fewer unwanted pets, simple one-step programs for population control and veterinarians would be able to use their surgical time to help sick animals as opposed to sterilizing healthy ones.”
Dr. Hockley, DVM, Director of the Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC), University of Saskatchewan

Proof of Concept Study

The proof-of-concept study is being conducted in females of a laboratory species and will measure the effects of multiple potential drug actives at several doses versus a negative control group. The primary endpoint of the study will be a definitive count of all viable follicle types in the ovary, allowing an assessment of immediate fertility as well as reproductive reserves. The counts will be made by independent histological examination. It is expected that the in-vivo portion of the study will be completed in late September and that the final histological results will become available prior to the end of calendar 2014.

“The mechanism of action of the invention is believed to be common to all female mammals, so positive results from this study could be highly indicative of commercial utility in a wide range of species.”
Cameron Groome, CEO and President of Avivagen

Licensing Option

Avivagen’s option to license the technology expires on July 8, 2015.

If the option is exercised, Avivagen will receive a worldwide exclusive , irrevocable (subject to rights of termination in certain circumstances) worldwide right and license with the right to grant sublicenses, to the technology in exchange for the issuance of 1,428,571 shares and 5,000,000 warrants to acquire common shares with an exercise price of $0.10 per common share and a term of five years, as well as the payment a royalty of 1% of net sales in excess of $10 million per year on any products that are commercialized using the technology.

* OVMA Reference: The cost of owning a cat or dog in 2013