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GEN News Highlights : Aug 23, 2013

Okapi and Novartis Focus on Felines

Okapi Sciences and Novartis Animal Health have entered an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize an antiviral treatment for cats. The drug could potentially be the first antiviral small molecule specifically developed for veterinary use.

In collaboration with Novartis Animal Health, Okapi will finalize the clinical work and apply for marketing authorization at the EMA and FDA. Okapi Sciences will receive payments if milestones are achieved, as well as royalties on any eventual sales of the product.

This agreement follows a grant Okapi was awarded in May from the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders for the development of antiviral drugs to treat viral infections in domestic cats.

Okapi was cofounded by professors Johan Neyts, Stefaan Wera, Ph.D., and Erwin Blomsma, Ph.D., in 2007. They acquired IP in 2008 from three universities—Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, University of Liège, and the Prague Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry