By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published on the Ottawa Business Journal website.
June 6, 2011
Click here to view this article on OBJ.ca.
Parent company to take a back seat
Graham Burton, co-founder of Chemaphor.
Like many biomedical companies before it, Chemaphor’s original plan was to develop a cure for cancer. That’s still a future possibility, but in the meanwhile, the company has adapted.
The result? A commercial version of its oxidized beta-carotene compound for the up-and-coming pet market, which Chemaphor is selling through its newly launched Avivagen Animal Health subsidiary. The first product is the chewable Oximunol tablet for dogs, intended to improve the animal’s immune system function, which can lead to better mobility for older dogs and healthier, shinier coats that shed less.
Co-founder Graham Burton says the growing pet market could also be the gateway to human applicability.
“You have to test on animals anyway to get into the human market, and if you can come up with a product that benefits animals, why not make money on it?” says Mr. Burton. “Our goal is to obtain self-sufficiency through our revenues.”
Given the long lead times and expense of clinical trials in preparation for human use, even for non-drug natural health products like Chemaphor’s, it’s a smart move, notes Cate McCready, vice-president of external affairs for industry association BIOTECanada.
“It’s not easy to make it through the elongated cycle … biotech companies are looking for ‘patient capital’ and further, for investors who’ve got a very strong knowledge base in terms of the technology. It’s a highly competitive framework to attract dollars,” says Ms. McCready. “(Chemaphor’s) been extremely nimble in adapting; as they frame their technology portfolio, they’re looking at how to pick out a couple of products which have a chance of getting into the marketplace quicker than others, and that’s the goal: to drive into the marketplace as quickly as possible.”
While Oximunol doesn’t have Continue reading →