Like their human owners, dogs and other animals serving as family pets and companions in the U.S. and around the world may experience joint health issues due to advancing age, weight and breed type. Joint health issues are predicted to affect nearly 1 in 5 dogs, and the canine joint health supplement market currently generates roughly $300 million in annual sales in the U.S. alone.
The research group at Health Enhancement Products, Inc., a Michigan-based biotech firm investigating bioactive compounds extracted from proprietary algae cultures, is pleased with initial test results.
"We're pleased with the progress we're making, and have already begun the fine-tuning of dietary supplement end-points in the follow-up study," states HEPI R&D Director Dr. Amy Steffek. "The validation package we're assembling will provide brand-name marketers with solid scientific backup to stated claims and results."
She explained that an experimental model that presents symptoms similar to naturally-occurring joint health problems in dogs and humans was used to evaluate the efficacy of candidate compounds. The research was conducted at Charles River's Montreal (Canada) facility. Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions accelerate their research and drug development efforts and provide test analysis and protocols required for regulatory approvals. The Company offers a 'dynamic weight bearing (DWB)' measurement system that has been used successfully in establishing proof of concept for new interventions and treatments.
A secondary objective of the dietary supplement testing was to investigate the performance of candidate compounds made by different production methods to help guide and refine that methodology.
Research results could yield dietary supplement to help old and overweight dogs and other animals with joint pain health challenges.
Results indicate that a test sample consisting of minimally-processed algal biomass, when used over a period of time—as little as 30-days—may provide positive effects relative to canine joint health. There was a trend for improved gait and weight-bearing in animals after 28 days of testing. These findings are paramount in helping guide dietary supplement and dietary supplement ingredient development.
With the results of this study, data from a parallel canine study (still being conducted by Covance), and other, previous findings, the Health Enhancement Products intends to approach brand-name animal health companies with the intent to jointly develop a canine dietary supplement focusing on supporting joint health and speeding up recovery from overexertion.
This follows Health Enhancement Products' stated strategy of entering into collaborative agreements with larger, well-established partners early in the development cycle, hastening the process of introducing naturally-derived products to market. In December of 2013, the company executed a collaboration/option agreement with a global animal health company to accelerate the validation of a potential bovine mastitis product.