Friday, 24 April 2009

How much money can be made by patenting drugs for animal behaviour problems?

Dr Nicholas H Dodman has three patents for pharmacological solutions for people not being able to cope with their cats, avoiding the cats being put down. This is what the advertising blurb for his book The cat who cried for help says. It identifies three main types of problems in cats:

emotional behaviors such as inappropriate elimination, excessive vocalization, and clawing on furniture;
and compulsive behaviors such as hair pulling.

He says behaviours can be changed by using a combination of behaviour modification and in some cases drug therapies, so he does not just focus on medication. The emphasis is on treatment with psychoactive medications as an alternative to lethal injection.

Dr Dodman is also working with Accura Animal Health that plans to bring fluoxetine to market as the first F.D.A.-approved treatment for canine aggression. Canprazol is the trade name. The drug is designed for two significant behavioural sub-markets for companion animals encompassing the majority of behavioural problems:

(i) dominance aggression and
(ii) separation anxiety.

Unruly, destructive or aggressive behaviour as well as house soiling are said to be among the most common problems in dogs.

Dominance aggression is estimated, according to Accura Animal Health, to affect around 23 million dogs worldwide. Accura prides itself on developing the first patent protected product for the treatment of dominance aggression.

Accura is also developing a patent protected drug for companion animals for obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is based on a human product that has apparently been used for a number of years. Stereotypical animal obsessive compulsive disorders are said to be patterns of movements or behaviours which are repeated without variation and which seem to occur for no clear reason.

How much money will the patents make?