Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (PETX)

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Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (PETX)

Q4 2013 Earnings Conference Call

March 13, 2014 08:00 ET


Steven St. Peter - President and Chief Executive Officer

Craig Tooman - Chief Financial Officer


Jose Haresco - JMP Securities

Jon Block - Stifel

Tim Lugo - William Blair



Good morning, and welcome to the Aratana Therapeutics’ Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Financial Results Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Dr. Steven St. Peter, Founder, President and CEO. Please go ahead.

Steven St. Peter - President and Chief Executive Officer

So thanks Denise. Good morning. This is Steven St. Peter, President and CEO of Aratana Therapeutics. I am here with Craig Tooman, our Chief Financial Officer.

So, welcome to the fourth quarter and full year 2013’s earnings call. I will make a few opening comments, then review the continued progress with our product development programs. Craig will then review the financial results. And after the prepared comments, we are pleased to take questions.

Before we begin, I would like to let you know that we will be making some forward-looking statements today. These statements involve uncertainties and risks and therefore should not be relied upon as predictors of future events. Actual events and circumstances which maybe up beyond our control may differ from today’s forward-looking statements, including but not limited to as a result of the risks, uncertainties and other important risk factors set forth in our filings with the SEC.

So with that out of way, in preparing for this call and the corresponding year end SEC filings, it donned on us just how incredible and transformative this period has been for Aratana and indeed the entire animal health industry. It is hard to imagine that before 2013 there was basically no U.S. public market segment for the pet therapeutics or animal health category. Yet in 2013, we saw three successful IPOs, including Aratana’s IPO in June. And we expect several other animal health companies will attempt to access the public markets in 2014. Hence, public market investors in general are paying attention, but let me begin by specifically thanking each of you on this call for your continued support and interest in this exciting company and our particular take on the industry.

At Aratana, we are singularly focused on bringing the best of science in human medicine to the pets with whom we share our homes and lives. Aratana and its subsidiaries have been the pioneers in pet therapeutics for more than five years, some of those years having been very lonely. So we welcome the recent attention. While competition is always a bit scary, the idea of no competition after half a decade would be even scarier. Our view is that the market is underserved and that the market can sustain multiple companies. We are simply grateful to have received your support in achieving our exponential growth during 2013. So we are investing aggressively, but appropriately in the Aratana vision and we are scaling up to become the industry leader.

Some highlights from 2013 and the first part of 2014. First, we completed our Series C equity financing in February of 2013 and we completed our first debt financing shortly thereafter. We completed our IPO in June of 2013 including exercise of the over-allotment option. In the fall of 2013, we expanded our product portfolio by completing three deals in our option programs. In October, we acquired Vet Therapeutics, a San Diego-based company with proprietary antibody based biologics platform and a leader in pet biologics. In conjunction with that transaction, we completed a private placement and expanded our debt facility.

In late 2013, we announced positive top line data for AT-001, our EP4 receptor antagonist for osteoarthritis pain in dogs and initiated our pivotal field effectiveness trial for AT-002, our ghrelin agonist for appetite simulation. Then in early January, we announced the acquisition of Okapi Sciences, a leading European pet therapeutics company based in Belgium, which expanded our therapeutic focus into anti-virals. In late January, we announced the USDA conditional license for AT-005. Again in late January, we completed a secondary offering, which raised net proceeds to company of approximately 90.5 million and meaningfully expanded our investor base.

Since our IPO in June, we have nearly tripled our employee base and we currently have approximately two dozen employees engaged in product development. And today, we confirmed that product development continues to be on track. Again, 2013 and this first part of 2014 have been fast paced, but Aratana is now exceptionally well-positioned with the human capital and the financial capital to realize our vision for the company. So let me now transition and provide some specific product development updates.

First, AT-001 our EP4 antagonist for the treatment of the pain, with respect to dogs during the quarter we announced positive top line data from its pivotal dose ranging study of AT-001 for dogs and selected once daily dose for further study. The pivotal field effectiveness study will begin in the second quarter of 2014 and then if the results are favorable as we expect commercialization will commence upon approval, which is anticipated to be in 2016. With respect to our work with AT-001 in cats, we are pursuing a chronic pain indication and we are working with experts to develop a protocol for a pilot study and cats with osteoarthritis.

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