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Cell Therapy Tools Studies Medication for Dogs in Pain

One clinical-stage biotech firm is making arthritis injectable drug treatments not for humans, but for pets.

Irvine-based Cell Therapy Tools (CTT) aims to develop cell-based therapies for pain and inflammation, starting with osteoarthritis in dogs.

The company last month said that it has begun enrolling dogs with the degenerative joint disease in a three-month clinical study using its experimental drug product Chondroshield.

“During osteoarthritis, there’s cartilage under destruction because of biochemical processes happening in the joint,” Chief Executive Fari Izadyar told the Business Journal.

“Chondroshield is going to reverse that process.”

Izadyar said that this upcoming pilot study is the first step toward gaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

CTT plans to enroll 20 dogs in the study, which will be overseen by Chief Veterinary Medical Officer Robert “Jeff” Mayo in Washington.

Izadyar said the company is currently self-funded but is open to fundraising once CTT has more clinical data.

“We are hoping that the closer we get to the finish line, we can go to the fundraising phase,” he said.

Canine Arthritis?

Chondroshield is intended to be an off-the-shelf product that can be stored in the fridge until needed for use by a veterinarian.

The drug’s formulation utilizes platelets. Mainly known for blood clotting, platelets also have wound-healing properties that help stimulate regeneration of tissue.

Existing cell therapies for canine osteoarthritis typically involve some sort of surgery to extract cells from the patient’s body.

The issue, however, is that production for these therapies is labor-intensive and the quality can be inconsistent, according to Izadyar.

“Clinicians cannot verify how many platelets are in there or what is the growth factor composition,” Izadyar said.

Chondroshield, on the other hand, is an allogenic cell-based therapy, which means the cells come from donors instead of the patient and doesn’t require any blood collection.

Izadyar said there is an unmet need in the market for such a treatment with there being close to 80 million dogs owned per household in the U.S. and 20% of them suffer from osteoarthritis.

As part of the pilot study, CTT is also partnering with New York-based pet tech startup Maven and will use its smart collars to monitor pet activity.

“It will give us objective data as to how movement and mobility of the animal improved or not after this study,” Izadyar said.

Stem Cell Research

Izadyar got his veterinary degree nearly four decades ago from the University of Tehran.

As a practitioner, Izadyar said he saw animal patients with debilitating chronic diseases that couldn’t be treated with traditional medical therapy.

“It was frustrating.” Izadyar said.

The experience pushed him to return to school and pursue a doctorate in reproductive biology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands where he became more involved in stem cell research.

“I was fascinated by the powerful healing ability of cells,” Izadyar said.

He left the Netherlands for the U.S. in 2004 and went on to be chief scientific officer at local biotech companies developing cell-based products for regeneration purposes, including Santa Ana-based PrimeGen Biotech LLC and its subsidiary VetCell Therapeutics that was created in 2015.

After working at these companies, Izadyar realized he wanted to make his own product and joined CTT in 2022.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.
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