RTP’s AgTech Accelerator expands with investment in animal health company

A startup that is developing drugs for pets is establishing its headquarters in the AgTech Accelerator in Research Triangle Park in conjunction with landing a $5 million investment that will be used to spur its research and development efforts.

Skyline Vet Pharma, which has operated as a virtual company since it was founded in 2015, received funding from the AgTech Accelerator as well as from individual corporate investors who have backed the accelerator.

Skyline’s strategy is to take human drugs that veterinarians already prescribe for pets, as they are allowed to do, and reformulating them especially for animal health – with an emphasis on making them easier to administer to pets, said John Dombrosky, CEO of the AgTech Accelerator.

Reformulating drugs that have already been approved for human use also enables “a compressed timeline” for winning regulatory approval, Dombrosky said.

Skyline has targeted developing drugs in three therapeutic areas – pain/inflammation, cardiovascular disease and antimicrobials – that it says account for more than 60 percent of the prescriptions written by vets.

Skyline was co-founded by CEO Serge Martinod, a veterinarian based in Connecticut, and George Murphy, the company’s California-based vice president, both of whom have experience with a number of animal health startups. Martinod’s 30 years of industry experience also includes stints at industry giants such as Pfizer and Ciba Geigy.

Last month the AgTech Accelerator launched Boragen, a fledgling fungicide company, with a $10 million investment.

Dombrosky said the two deals demonstrate “the breadth and scope of the companies” that the accelerator is interested in backing.

In addition to providing funding, accelerator team members handle the financial and other back-office functions for its portfolio companies. Dombrosky also became CEO of Boragen when it became a portfolio company.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii