【Pet Medical Care: Gold Mine 2】
Treating Pets with Human Drugs
Taiwan Gongwin-KY Takes On the Most Challenging Work
Leading far ahead of many of its Taiwanese peers, Gongwin has also applied the human cancer drug PTS100 (minimally invasive targeted tumor ablation), which is undergoing clinical trials, to pets, becoming the first company in Taiwan to apply for field pre-trial (equivalent to Phase I and II of human clinical trials) to the Council of Agriculture, the competent authority, for pet cancer drug. "You guys are really brave! You take on the challenge which others don't." Seeing Gongwin's bold attempt, a biotech industry peer once said to Morrice Lin.
The "Minimally Invasive Targeted Tumor Ablation" technology developed by Gongwin, the core key is to directly inject the tumor with PTS100 through the assistance of endoscopy, to achieve the purpose of local tumor necrosis and apoptosis. This technology, which is rare in the world, combining medicine and equipment to treat cancer, has been developed by Gongwin since 2000. John Y. J. Wu, the founder of Gongwin, invited his good friend Nanshan Zhong, the epidemic prevention authority in China, to serve as the project director of China's new drug development. With lung cancer as the target, the trials have been carried out for nearly 20 years and was completed with the phase III clinical trial approved in China last year. The drug certificate is expected to be issued this year, and Gongwin will become one of the few Taiwanese new drug companies which obtains a cancer drug certificate from China. The drug has even been included in the " Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China".
The predecessor of Gongwin was PTS, founded in the United States. In 2014, the Company re-structured, moved and set up its headquarters to Cayman Islands, changed its name to Gongwin, and listed in the emerging market in Taiwan. The drug is mainly used in liver cancer trials in Taiwan, and has now entered phase II clinical trials.
Morrice Lin revealed to the magazine that, a few years ago, he decided to transfer the drug to pets as a result of a friend’s request, and applied to the Council of Agriculture for animal trials. Gongwin also successfully obtained the first field pre-trial license in 2019.
Not only that, Morrice Lin said prudently that he specially recruited a group of women to form a pet care team. The five members of the team all have a background in biology or nutrition, and are not veterinarians. In order for them to understand the physical structure of dogs and cats, he also organized a book club to help them familiarize themselves with the anatomy of dogs and cats, so the team can fully communicate with the veterinarians, let the drug play its role fully, and providing the most effective treatment.
Being optimistic about the pet medical care business opportunities, Gongwin has separated the pet department and established Gongwin Pet Biopharm Co., Ltd.
Morrice Lin said that, in this preliminary trial, each dog was given 5 to 10 injections over a treatment course of 2 to 3 months. In order to truly grasp the pet's medical condition, every time the veterinarian administers the medicine, the team is present in person. The team also sets up a LINE group with each owner to closely monitor the recovery of the dogs. The team is hence highly recognized by the owners and veterinarians.
"50% of dogs over the age of 14 die from cancer; the more pure breed the dog is, the more likely it is to develop cancer." Morrice Lin pointed out that this is one of the main reasons why he wants to conduct animal clinical trials. Gongwin cooperates with 7 veterinary hospitals north of Taichung, targeting dogs that are over 12 years old and cannot be anesthetized. In the past 2 years, 15 types of cancers have been trialed and 30 dogs have completed the course of treatment. Most symptoms have been relieved by 80%, and the report has been submitted to the Council of Agricultural for a review.
Having carved out a niche for itself, Gongwin attracts pet owners from all over to seek medical treatment, such as a previous director of PTS, the sister of Lin Kexiao, the late general manager of Taishin Financial Holding Co., Ltd.; as well as a pet owner living in Kaohsiung, even overseas Chinese living in Thailand also came from afar, and even a South African who visited Penghu, took the mangy dogs owned by the owner of the homestay over for treatment. The conditions of these dogs were all improved and went back to normal life.
Gongwin has applied to the Council of Agriculture for a field trial (equivalent to Phase III human clinical trials) in November 2021, with melanoma in dogs as the main target. Shu-Ying Cheng said: "Dogs with this type of tumor have low survival rates and the tumors are more likely to metastasize, so veterinarians all said that we are so brave to take on the most difficult challenges!" The trial is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Morrice Lin said that last September, Gongwin separated the pet medical care department and established Gongwin Pet Biopharm. In the future, Gongwin will develop the testing equipment that conforms to the physiological structure of pets. He is quite optimistic about pet medical care business opportunities.