Apr 17, 2018
By Kayla Liederbach
Vetherapy: Stem Cell Therapy for Our Animal Friends
Photo: AnimalBiome data scientist, Kari Goodman; CEO, Holly Ganz; and research scientist, Yvette Girard, at the JP Morgan CLSA event last week.

We understand the benefits of stem cell therapy for humans. These amazing cells, with their self-renewal abilities, can be taken from areas where they live in the body and transferred to an injured area of the body, where they transform into the very cells that need to be replaced. Companies are making strides to make regenerative medicine more affordable and available. But what about our four-legged friends? Whether it’s a household pet or a farm animal, it’s important that they don’t suffer from a slow or disrupted healing process.

Vetherapy has harnessed the power of regenerative medicine and applied stem cell therapy to animals. They’ve created a wound healing hydrogel for external injuries as well as a stem cell therapy technology for internal injuries, which are both proven to work. We asked the company’s founder and CEO, Pedro Carvalho, more about Vetherapy:

How did you become interested in biotech?

PC: I was always interested in everything biology-related or nature-related. As I started working in regenerative medicine immediately after graduating from Veterinary School, it was always a very strong possibility for me to end up in biotech.​

When did you decide to start a company, and where did your team get together?

PC: I decided sometime during my PhD, more than 10 years ago. Our team actually got together during that time as we were all developing our graduate studies at the same research facility​, but the opportunity to found the company only came later on; we also wanted to solidify some key concepts and outcomes from the application of our technology before taking it to market.

How does your technology work?

PC: It’s difficult to pinpoint the technology itself. Besides our patented wound healing hydrogel, our stem cell therapy technology relies on many years of hands-on work in the lab. This allowed us to really understand some of the flaws and difficulties that the application of stem cells has, and optimize our technology to the best quality end-product​ on the market today. We ship our cells in our proprietary medium, ready to be injected by the vets, without any need for further processing. Our stem cells keep their viability for up to 48 hours and can be injected ​intravenously, intra-articular, epidural, intra-thecal, intra-lesional…without any concerns for any adverse reaction. This makes it extremely easy and accessible for our colleagues at the veterinary hospitals and clinics to apply it in their daily routines.​

What lessons did you learn transitioning from science to entrepreneurship at IndieBio?

PC: The mindset is totally different. IndieBio provided us with the tools we needed to gradually embrace that entrepreneur mindset​. It helped us understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to transform your idea/dream into a lucrative and appealing business.

How do you think your success as a company would change the animal healthcare industry?

PC: I believe that medicine is changing and will continue to change even more in the near future. Regenerative medicine is definitely one of the fields ​that has this potential to completely disrupt the way we do medicine, and change not only the healthcare industry, but mostly benefit the people and animals treated with this approach. There are a lot of unsolvable problems for which regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies provide great solutions. The results and evidences are all over the scientific literature and we can only hope that the regulatory authorities will be able to keep up the pace.

What milestones are you aiming to hit in the near future?

PC: We want to focus on the US market and deal with all the regulatory pathways to put our products on the market. As we do this, we will continue to expand in Europe and increase our sales (reaching new markets as well). We keep a network of collaborations with academia and research centers which allows us to be always up-to-date with what is going on in this field, and always have the best solutions​ for different problems. Our main goal is to continue to have the best results, improve the quality of life of the pets we love, and thus become the leading reference on regenerative medicine for veterinary application on a global market.

Watch Vetherapy pitch on IndieBio Demo Day, Tuesday April 17th in San Francisco or via LiveStream. Register here!