Cytopoint®: A New Treatment Option for Canine Atopic Dermatitis

Cytopoint is not a registered chemical product and contains lokivetmab which is not an approved active constituent. An application for registration of the product and approval of the active constituent has been submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

Monoclonal antibody therapy is the fastest growing therapeutic area in human medicine. In recent years, research has focused on how these therapies can be translated to animal health. Specifically, Zoetis has invested in developing an innovative biological therapy that aids in the control of the clinical manifestations of canine atopic dermatitis.

While many therapeutic options are available for canine atopic dermatitis, there is room for improvement. Dog owners are seeking treatments that allow greater flexibility to suit their needs and lifestyles - and with few side effects. Treatment protocols may need to be customised for dogs suffering from an acute condition compared to dogs with seasonal allergies or those affected year-round. Special consideration may need to be given to dogs with atopic dermatitis that are under 12 months of age, those already on medications (such as NSAIDs) that limit additional therapies or those with co-existing diseases (such as neoplasia or serious infections) that may impact therapeutic options.

Harnessing the power of the immune system

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are developed in a laboratory from a single cell line and, when administered to patients, target and neutralise specific antigens. mAbs mimic the activity of the animal’s own naturally produced antibodies without provoking an immune response from the host.

Stopping the itch cycle before it starts

To create an effective mAb therapy, you first have to determine the specific target(s) of most relevance to the disease process. Research over the past decade has shown that cytokines play an important role in the cycle of itch and inflammation in canine atopic dermatitis. Cytokines are proteins produced by cells that act as messengers between cells to promote and drive allergic inflammation.

Research at Zoetis has focused on the pruritogenic cytokine interleukin (IL)-31. A key function of IL-31 is to stimulate the neuronal itch pathway by activating peripheral sensory nerves in areas of allergic dermatitis.

A study has shown that IL-31 can be identified in the serum of dogs with atopic dermatitis, but not in healthy dogs; and when IL-31 is injected into laboratory dogs, pruritic behaviours are induced.

Through this research, Zoetis has discovered and manufactured an anti-IL-31 monoclonal antibody that will target and neutralise only this cytokine to rapidly and effectively reduce clinical signs of canine atopic dermatitis. Because of the exquisite specificity in the targeting of IL-31, other cellular functions and immune responses are not adversely affected.

Introducing Cytopoint

Cytopoint is an innovative new treatment for canine atopic dermatitis. Veterinarians across the United States, Europe and New Zealand have already been using Cytopoint - an injectable monoclonal antibody that aids in the reduction of clinical signs associated with atopic dermatitis in dogs.

“This is a first-of-its-kind antibody therapy in veterinary medicine to help break the itch cycle and provide relief for dogs that suffer from atopic dermatitis. It also helps pet owners enjoy their pets and avoid daily medications for itch relief.”

Andrew Hiller, BVSc, MANZCVS, Dipl ACVD
Veterinary Specialty Operations and Medical Lead Allergy, Dermatology at Zoetis.

This anti-IL-31 mAb was initially developed in the mouse. However, mouse antibodies are recognised as “foreign” proteins by dogs and will be rapidly eliminated by the immune system, thus losing efficacy. This anti-IL-31 mAb has been engineered to mimic dog antibodies, a process referred to as “caninisation.” As a result, the mAb is not seen as “foreign” and is accepted by the dog’s immune system, thus maintaining efficacy even when used repeatedly over the long term.

Rapid and sustained relief for canine patients, without steroid side-effects

Once administered to a patient in-clinic, Cytopoint begins to reduce clinical signs of atopic dermatitis within 8 hours. On average, patients will experience 30 days of relief of itch and the clinical signs of atopic dermatitis. Dogs may receive additional monthly treatments, as needed, for continued relief.

Along with itch relief, the mAb also leads to improvement in skin condition, giving the skin a chance to heal.

Cytopoint is indicated for dogs of all ages. Since the mAb mimics the dog’s own antibodies, it is eliminated via normal protein degradation pathways that do not involve the kidneys or liver, thus avoiding potential side effects associated with traditional pharmacotherapy.

No drug interactions were observed in field studies where Cytopoint was administered concomitantly with  other common medications including parasiticides, antibiotics, vaccines, anti-inflammatories and other antipruritics, such as Apoquel (oclacitinib).

When will Cytopoint be available in Australia?

Zoetis has made a submission to the APVMA to gain registration of Cytopoint so that Australian veterinarians can begin to offer this life-changing treatment option to their clients. We will let you know as soon as the product is available. In the meantime, Apoquel is an excellent choice for relieving the itch associated with both allergic and atopic dermatitis.

Zoetis will be at AVA Conference on stands 108 & 109.



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Gonzales AJ, Fleck TJ, Humphrey WR, et. al. IL-31-induced pruritus in dogs: a novel experimental model to evaluate anti-pruritic effects of canine therapeutics. Vet Dermatol. 2016;27(1):34-e10.

Gonzales AJ, Humphrey WR, Messamore JE, et al. Interleukin-31: its role in canine pruritus and naturally occurring canine atopic dermatitis. Vet Dermatol. 2013;24(1):48-53. doi:10.1111/j.1365- 3164.2012.01098.x.

Krautmann M, Miller W, Walters R, Garcia-Tapia D, King V, Figue­iredo J, et al. Long-term laboratory safety study of lokivetmab (ZTS- 00103289), a caninized, anti-canine IL-31 monoclonal antibody, in normal dogs [abstract]. Vet Dermatol. 2016;27 Suppl 1:73-4.

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Moyaert, H., et al. A blinded, randomized clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of lokivetmab compared to ciclosporin in client-owned dogs with atopic dermatitis. Vet Dermatol 2017.

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Zoetis Data on file, Study Report No. C961R-US-13-051.


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