Therapeutics developer turns its focus to companion animal health


Akston Biosciences Corporation is working to development drugs to treat diabetes in pets as well as chronic pain in dogs and canine cancers

Photo: Azahara/Adobe Stock

Photo: Azahara/Adobe Stock

Akston Biosciences Corporation has announced it will now focus on inventing, developing, and manufacturing breakthrough protein therapeutics for companion animal health. The corporation will utilize its cGMP biologics manufacturing facility in Beverly, Massachusetts, as well as Akston’s Ambifect Fc-fusion platform, which supports species-specific drug development, and for bringing these veterinary therapies to market.

Akston’s most advanced animal health candidates—AKS-321d for canine diabetes, and AKS-425c for feline diabetes—are once-a-week insulin therapies. Both treatments are licensed to and are being developed in partnership with Dechra Pharmaceuticals, Plc. Akston’s pipeline also includes AKS-544d, which targets chronic pain in canines; and AKS-197d, an insulin receptor down-regulator for treating cancers in dogs. 

“As with human health 20 years ago, protein therapeutics are now poised to revolutionize companion animal health,” said Todd Zion, PhD, president and CEO of Akston Biosciences, in a company release. “Our goal is to be a major player in this revolution, through focused efforts that leverage our ability to develop products from concept through commercial manufacturing.” 

In addition to inventing and developing its own therapeutic candidates, Akston serves as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) for animal health companies. This role is using the corporation’s integrated capabilities that include a multi-kilogram-scale cGMP biologics clean-room factory, product-scale process development and quality control facilities, and a pharmacology laboratory.

While it focuses on companion animal health, Akston is spinning off its 2 human health lines of business—for infectious disease vaccine and human Type 1 diabetes prevention—into the wholly-owned subsidiaries Vakston, Inc. and Diamune Therapeutics, Inc. “Spinning out Vakston and Diamune allows each new company to continue developing its promising candidates at the proper pace, reflecting their own investment thesis.” said Rahul Bhansali, Managing Partner at Formation Venture Engineering, an Akston shareholder, in the release.


Akston Biosciences to focus on strong animal health pipeline. News release. Akston Biosciences. August 17, 2023. Accessed August 18, 2023.

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