Invetus understands the extensive time and cost in progressing an investigational molecule to first human clinical trials. Invetus can assist in reducing that cost and time, with world class research capability, potentially coupled with attractive tax incentives.

Some models of disease don’t work well in laboratory rodents. We offer large mammal preclinical trials in areas such as oncology, pain management and inflammation. This helps to de-risk the process, and reduce time and cost, as well as providing a first view of therapeutic safety.


Large animal preclinical studies

In the past, rodents and small mammals have been studied using induced disease for human pharmaceuticals, biologics and devices. Many of these small mammal models fail or don’t translate well into humans. The pathway to registration for human use becomes long, expensive and complex.

Larger mammals (pigs, sheep, dogs) are a similar size, have some shared physiology and have many diseases in common with humans. Using large mammal models may de-risk the registration pathway as they are more similar model to humans. Spontaneous disease in these animals can also be used to show that the human medicine, biologic or device is safe and effective.

Types of large mammal models

  • CARDIOLOGY - Pigs, sheep and dogs can be used to study induced disease for cardiology devices and pharmaceuticals due to their similar size and physiology. These studies are undertaken at Invetus' WRC and ARC facilities.

Spontaneous cardiovascular disease in dogs or cats may be suitable models for human disease (e.g. hypertrophic cardiomyopathy).

  • OSTEOARTHRITIS - This is a very common disease in dogs, and dogs are a particularly good model for this disease in humans. Invetus has expertise in conducting GCP studies for osteoarthritis via the VCRN.
  • INFLAMMATION/METABOLIC - Dogs and cats, sheep and pigs can be used as models of induced inflammatory disease.  Cats and dogs also spontaneously develop various metabolic diseases, such as diabetes or renal disease, and these are a useful model for human disease. This work is undertaken at Invetus' WRC and ARC facilities.
  • PHARMACOKINETICS/PHARMACODYNAMICS - Dogs are usually used for PK/PD studies; this work is undertaken at Invetus' WRC facility.
  • IMPLANTS/SCAFFOLDS/REGENERATIVE MEDICINE - Dogs, pigs and sheep offer good induced models for implanting or testing scaffolds and regenerative medicinal products.
  • ORTHOPAEDICS - Invetus has well-equipped surgeries at WRC for dogs, and ARC for sheep and pigs, for most types of orthopaedic work. If Invetus doesn't have the specialised equipment needed, it can be accessed via our network of institutions, who have ultrasound, fluoroscopy, mechanical testing, MRI, CT etc.
  • DERMATOLOGY - Pigs have similar skin to humans and can be used for a wide variety of dermatology testing. This work is undertaken at Invetus' ARC facility.
  • PAIN MANAGEMENT - our staff includes a specialist veterinary anaesthetist and expert in pain management, and we are practised in a number of appropriate techniques. This work is undertaken at Invetus' WRC facility, or if horses are the selected model, at the University of Queensland.
  • OPHTHALMOLOGY - Pigs, sheep and dogs can be used to test medicines and devices in ophthalmology. Spontaneous disease in dogs and cats can be accessed via the VCRN.

Comparative Oncology

Cancers that affect humans also affect animals. These spontaneously occurring cancers in animals may offer better models for human disease than laboratory rodents, since laboratory animals rarely develop cancer. Typically, although not exclusively, these cancers are diagnosed in pet dogs or cats, and their owners are often motivated to treat their pets.

If animals with spontaneously occurring cancers can be identified and treated with novel medicines as a model for human disease, this is called comparative oncology. This serendipitous use of beloved pets can minimise the risks and accelerate time to market of new human therapeutics.

Cancer types that can use comparative oncology:

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  • Lymphoma (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma): Canine and feline
  • Osteosarcoma: Canine

  • Glioblastoma and meningioma: Canine

  • Melanoma: Canine

  • Mammary: Canine and Feline

  • Solid tumours: Canine

  • Haemangiosarcoma (angiosarcoma): Canine

  • Nasal Carcinoma: Canine

Examples of Comparative Oncology

This is actually happening already. For example, in Osteosarcoma: Advaxis was granted fast track status by FDA to develop it’s ASXS-HER2 immunotherapy after successful trials in dogs.

https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2016/04/28/834081/0/en/FDA-Grants-Advaxis-Fast-Track-Designation-for-ADXS-HER2-for-Patients-with-Newly-Diagnosed-Non-Metastatic-Surgically-Resectable-Osteosarcoma.html

A general video on Comparative Oncology from the University of Colorado is excellent viewing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Raif_9STMYM


Dogs diagnosed with cancer

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Dogs have similar physiological and genetic similarities to people (80% of the genome is shared between the species). The variations in breeds, environments, diet and the lifestyle of dogs are more similar to the lifestyles of humans than those of laboratory rodents. Dogs' cancers respond to treatment (surgery, radiation and chemotherapy) in a similar way to people.

Certain cancers are microscopically and molecularly similar between dogs and humans (e.g. bladder, osteosarcoma, lymphoma), and the mutations that cause them are the same. 

Many new cancer treatments that have shown first proof of concept in dogs have been translated, and can predict the response in people.

Pet owners who have dogs diagnosed with cancer are motivated to search for new and novel treatments to help their pets with cancer. This means that for some terminally dogs, there may be an end-of-life option. 


To discuss either large mammal or comparative oncology models, please contact:

Elizabeth Evans, Director Business Development 

Phone: +61 (0)2 6770 3200