KindredBio Brings Advances in Medicine to our Furry Friends
San Diego is home to some of the most creative and inspiring minds from every industry; innovation isn’t unfamiliar to this city. When an entrepreneur finds success combining experience, intelligence, and genuine passion, San Diego takes notice. Meet Denise Bevers co-founder and COO of KindredBio, one of the world’s first biopharmaceutical companies focused on saving and improving the lives of cats, dogs and horses.
FINE: First, tell us more about what your company does.
DB: As a biotech company that develops medicines for pets, our core strategy is to leverage the billions of dollars that have been invested in human drug development by modifying, improving, and repurposing existing drugs and targets that have proven safe and effective in humans. This allows us to pursue KindredBio’s mission to bring the very best science and medicine to our animal companions. We have a team of veterinarians, scientists, and operational experts who love animals and want to develop therapeutics that have been appropriately studied and will soon be approved by FDA for use in cats, dogs, and horses.
FINE: What drove you to create KindredBio?
DB: For over 20 years I worked in the human pharmaceutical and medical communications industries, managing dozens of products and development programs from inception to approvals and manufacturing. While I loved what I was doing, I was looking to create something that paired my expertise in big pharma with my love for animals and my degree in zoology.
At the same time, my partner and I were realizing the position of pets in the family. If you look at dogs over the last few decades, for example, they were once kept in the backyard, then moved to the doghouse, to behind a gate in the kitchen, and now over 40% of them sleep in bed with their owners! In 2016, pet owners in the U.S. spent $66.7 billion on pets (an increase of 10.7 percent from 2015). And, we spend $700 million a year on Valentine’s Day presents for our pets! Today, we know there is critical need, and a willingness to pay for, innovative medicines that will improve our pets’ lives.
I am so fortunate to be able to leverage my years of experience in drug development with my passion for animals to co-create a company dedicated to developing cutting-edge therapeutics for pets.
FINE: Do you have pets of your own?
DB: We do! My husband, Lon, and I are parents to a border collie, Betty, and two cats, Gladys and Glover. I’ve been a pet lover my entire life. As a child, I had hermit crabs, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, bunnies…not all at once, of course!
FINE: Can you give us an example or two of how KindredBio is helping our animal companions?
DB: We have two drugs that have successfully completed pivotal clinical studies (Mirataz™ for the management of weight loss in cats and Zimeta™ for the control of fever in horses), both of which are under review with FDA. We are hoping to have our first FDA approval during the first half of 2018. I am so proud to say that KindredBio has more than 20 drugs currently in development in its pipeline.
FINE: The idea of KindredBio itself is innovative, but how else does the company innovate?
DB: The FDA assesses and ultimately approves the safety, efficacy, and manufacturing quality of human pharmaceuticals. KindredBio believes our pet therapies should be made with the same high standards. Our facility provides a unique setting for the development and manufacturing of high quality, species-specific veterinary biologics. This focus on high standards and lean manufacturing creates efficiencies that shorten the time to market so our therapies are available sooner with reduced development costs. This all translates to economically feasible products for pet owners.
FINE: Speaking of development costs, talk to us about your experience in fundraising to take KindredBio public.
DB: I’m happy to say that we have been quite successful in our fundraising efforts, but it takes a lot of effort and tenacity. Investors want to see that you know what you are talking about, but they also want to know you are passionate. You must be able to convey both knowledge and passion. Fortunately, we are very passionate about what we do and we have a very strong value proposition. With that in mind, my co-founder and I have raised approximately $150 in public offerings (NASDAQ: KIN). We continue to attract new investors to KindredBio, and the future of the veterinary biotech industry looks strong.
FINE: What do you enjoy most about living and working in San Diego?
DB: The collaboration and support among women in biotechnology and life sciences our community is what I enjoy most about working in San Diego. Thanks to organizations like Athena and Women in Bio, we are all working together to raise the profile of women leaders and entrepreneurs. There is an energy and sense of support that I’ve not seen in other communities. I love living in San Diego (Point Loma) for more reasons than I can list…my short list is the pet friendly environment, especially Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, the fantastic theatre scene, particularly ion theatre and La Jolla Playhouse, and, of course, the sunshine!
Denise Bevers, Co-Founder and COO of KindredBio, is an expert in clinical operations, medical affairs. and scientific communications. She oversees the organization’s clinical operations, data management, pharmaceutical development, commercial operations and manufacturing, investor relations, human resources, and IT. Along with KindredBio’s CEO, Denise has raised approximately $150 million in public offerings to bring the very best science and medicine to animal companions.