More time with your pets? SF biotech company trying to create fountain of youth for dogs

The San Francisco startup is in its trial-stage of testing pills that could make dogs live longer and healthier lives.

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Friday, February 3, 2023
SF biotech company trying to extend lifespan of dogs
San Francisco-based biotech company Loyal is developing drugs that could make dogs live longer and healthier lives.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We all love our dogs. But what if we got to love them for much longer than we do now? That's the mission of a veterinary medicine company in San Francisco.

For Celine Halioua, her love of animals has spanned a lifetime.

"I've had 15 cats, four dogs, squirrels, I have a horse," she said.

But over the past few years, she's taken her fondness for dogs to a whole other level.

Back in 2020, Halioua founded the San Francisco-based biotech company Loyal.

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It's mission - to expand, sometimes drastically - the life expectancy of dogs, giving them more time with their owners.

"The way to think about it is pulling out the healthy middle years. Those years where your dog wants to go to the park, is bounding around - can we have more of those?" said Halioua.

The idea behind it is that dog owners will be able to give their animals a series of drugs, kind of like heartworm pills, over the course of their lives.

Those drugs will then work at a cellular level to help pets live healthier and longer.

Halioua's team has raised over $65 million in venture capital.

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And while it's still early days, initial trials have shown some encouraging results.

Loyal hopes to get FDA approval for two drugs by 2025.

"It's something that'll be given to the dog every three to six months that will release a drug over time at a consistent rate," said Halioua.

But it's not just pets and their owners who could benefit.

Sherri Franklin is the CEO of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue - a shelter that's worked with Loyal for some of their studies.

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She says if successful, Halioua's work could revolutionize the way people adopt animals and potentially help get thousands more dogs rescued.

Shelters would have a better understanding of a dog's age and overall health.

"We can save more animals if we can give adopters clear information. That would be an ultimate game changer for us," Franklin said.

Halioua hopes this is only the first step in her journey.

But she says one goal will always remain the same, making her products affordable to everyone.

"These aren't going to be like rich people drugs. They're going to be broadly accessible, that I hope one day almost every dog is on," she said.

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