Zomedica Pharmaceuticals Corp.

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October 17, 2016 Issue



Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Health and Wellness Solutions for Companion Animals



Gerald Solensky, Jr.

President & Chief Executive Officer


Zomedica Pharmaceuticals Corp.


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – October 17, 2016


CEOCFO: Mr. Solensky, would you tell us about Zomedica Pharmaceuticals?

Mr. Solensky: Our focus is to improve worldwide companion animal health by increasing the number of successful veterinarians on the planet. We believe that pet health is dependent upon vet health so we are focusing on the unmet needs of clinical veterinarians, sometimes referred to as small animal veterinarians that predominately care for dogs and cats.


CEOCFO: Are there specific needs based on the characteristics of companion animals?

Mr. Solensky: Well right now, 41% of drugs found in the veterinarian’s pharmacy cabinet are FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) approved animal drugs. The remaining 59% are unapproved animal drugs, meaning approved human drugs used off label. This reliance on human drugs leads to issues with safety/efficacy, patient compliance, price, and availability when treating pet patients. We’re working to create a FDA-CVM approved drug pipeline that will address all of these issues and support the high medical standards of veterinarians. And there is a need for new solutions, or new tools, such as devices and diagnostics, which can positively impact the standard of care while giving vets the opportunity to lower costs, increase productivity and grow revenue.


CEOCFO: That is a tall order, how are you doing this?

Mr. Solensky: One of the primary areas Zomedica has differentiated itself from our competition is by having clinical or practicing veterinarians as members of our executive leadership team to represent the voice of the customer. These customer advocates help ensure that our product pipeline reflects the needs of the veterinarians while also considering market requirements and our corporate objectives. And so, we are building a diversified portfolio of products comprised of the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative drugs alongside novel drug delivery systems, devices and diagnostics. To help us identify products and services that are economically and professionally beneficial, we are developing a Voice of the VetTM program as the mechanism for integrating veterinary customers into the product development lifecycle.


CEOCFO: What might you learn and what have you learned, having veterinarians so closely involved that might have been overlooked in the past?

Mr. Solensky: A great example that I learned as we developed Zomedica’s business strategy is that clinical veterinarians are dealing with compassion fatigue, margin pressures, disproportionate student debt and other factors that impact their professional and personal satisfaction. Moreover, statistics show an alarmingly high risk of suicide in the veterinary profession, possibly attributed to these aforementioned challenges. While these challenges are widely talked about within the veterinary community, it is not widespread knowledge with the larger population or even amongst pet owners.


CEOCFO: What are you working on right now?

Mr. Solensky: We are always focused on building a business and the most important asset of the business is its people. Our C level executives and senior management team are making sure that we achieve our milestones and benchmarks per our strategic plan. What we have accomplished since going public are on pare with expectations.

·         We have opened two Investigational New Animal Drug Applications with the FDA Center of Veterinarian Medicine for ZM-006 targeting a metabolic disorder and ZM-012, an anti-infective.

·         We filed for a provisional application for patent for a novel formulation of ZM-006.

·         We have entered into a joint research collaboration with CTX Technology, Inc. with the intent to develop IP for alternative drug delivery technology.

·         We are actively looking at in-licensing and M&A opportunities involving appropriate technologies for introduction into the veterinary space.

·         In the near future we will launch our Voice of the VetTM program.

·         We are investigating opportunities to cross-list to a U.S. exchange.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the novel drug delivery system?

Mr. Solensky: Depending on the path by which a drug is taken into the animal’s body there could be side effects, and/or it could be challenging to administer, both of which can affect a drug’s effectiveness. Our novel drug delivery technology will be a new approach for delivering a pharmaceutical compound so it can safely achieve its desire therapeutic effect. In other words, a new way to dose an animal.


CEOCFO: What is wrong with the way delivery is done now?

Mr. Solensky: It’s not that the current delivery method is wrong. Many drugs are formulated in a way that minimizes effectiveness because the dosage form or route of delivery is not ideal for the animal. In human medicine, I like to equate this to giving an infant a pill to swallow—it’s not ideal for a number of reasons. We have taken a strong look at that from the veterinary perspective and how it can be improved considering the varying species and size of animals.


CEOCFO: Is it easy to get veterinarians attentions as compared to human medicine?

Mr. Solensky: I think it’s important to understand that veterinary medicine is very different than human medicine for a number of reasons such as:

·         Veterinarians serve as both clinician and pharmacist

·         Veterinarians treat multiple species of variable sizes

·         And cost of care in veterinary medicine is often not subsidized by third-party payers


I will say, veterinarians are extremely hard workers. They work long hours, it’s a physically demanding job, it requires vets to get dirty, and there is never enough time in the day. Throw in some compassion fatigue and moral stress caused by ethical dilemmas and you can start to see how it becomes challenging to be the best doctor, the best pharmacist, and operate a profitable practice all at the same time.


CEOCFO: What is the plan for gaining interest from the veterinarian community?

Mr. Solensky: The Voice of the VetTM program that we are rolling out in the near future is one that we hope will capture the attention of our veterinary customers. I would say that in order to build brand awareness we need to emphasize that we are clinical vets creating products for clinical vets. And once we have their attention, it’s imperative to deliver solutions and tools that positively impact the animals in their care and clinic operations.


CEOCFO: What was the reaction when Zomedica became a public company?

Mr. Solensky: We were one of the fastest veterinary pharmaceutical companies to evolve from formation to public listing on a North American exchange. To do this, we were able to accelerate the customary pathways to entering the capital markets here in the United States by going through Canada. By listing first in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange:

·         We were able to capitalize on the currency exchange that has been favorable for United States shareholders in the Canadian marketplace.

·         It was a prime opportunity for a life sciences company to access an accredited, sophisticated and diversified investor base within a market saturated by the oil/gas/mining industries.

·         We were able to maintain a tremendous amount of competitive advantage by accelerating our capital market strategy via an international environment prior to launch in the United States.


We are new, and that newness generates a lot of curious interest in wanting to know what Zomedica is all about and where we are going. Just like with any other sophisticated or accredited investor appetite within the investment community, they want to make sure we are a legitimate and credible organization. I think we have been transparent in our dealings with both the exchange and investor community. And I believe we will be an organization to be looking out for in the near future.


CEOCFO: What was the genesis of the company?

Mr. Solensky: The genesis started back in 2011 following a lengthy career in the banking industry followed by a stretch as a turn-around CEO. I started to explore a possible career change in veterinary medicine because of my desire to be a veterinarian as a child. After shadowing a mentor of mine for about six months, completing eight hundred hours of observation time, I started to recognize the issues that challenge today’s veterinarians. Some of these points I previously mentioned such as compassion fatigue, margin pressures and disproportionate student debt which impacts veterinarians both personally and professionally. I thought there was a niche for something that could combine my finance and business background with the world of science and animal medicine. I started by building the most important asset, the team, starting with William MacArthur, MS, DVM, our Chief Medical Officer and Director of R&D who has a rather senior and well pedigreed background and is a biotech expert. Next on board was Stephanie Morley, DVM, our Chief Operations Officer who previously served as a clinical veterinarian; she also brought a tremendous amount of value-add in the business strategy of the organization. And together, we started to form the core business principles with the goal of building a company that would be recognized in our space as an industry leader. I am fortunate and grateful to be part of this team.


CEOCFO: What surprised you so far?

Mr. Solensky: What surprised me was realizing the truth of the ever cliché phrase “the joy is in the journey” and the roller coaster ride that ensues when people are inspired and buy into a shared vision. My vision and passion was due to my desire to pursue something in the animal health world and to shake up things in challenging the process along the way. My fortune was finding those team members that share the same vision and passion. I think a lot of what we’ve accomplished in the past year and our success has been by building an organizational culture that believes in our purpose and continuously challenges the status quo.


CEOCFO: Why should investors and pet owners pay attention to Zomedica?

Mr. Solensky: Investors should pay attention because the companion animal market for pharmaceuticals, biologicals and parasiticides was an estimated US$9.8 billion with Westernized areas such as North America, Europe and Japan representing the greatest market opportunity. The United States is the single largest companion animal market on the planet at an estimated US$4.2 billion. To be in on an early-stage growth organization like ours with a company built around people who have the ability to execute, I think most investors would want to participate and be long-term shareholders for its ROI opportunity.


While our target market is the veterinarian, pet owners might be interested to know that we are targeting products proven safe and effective for their four-legged friends that have not typically been offered in the past. At the end of the day, I think that our investors that have embarked on this journey with us will be rewarded and are looking forward to what the future will bring for Zomedica.



“One of the primary areas Zomedica has differentiated itself from our competition is by having clinical or practicing veterinarians as members of our executive leadership team to represent the voice of the customer. These customer advocates help ensure that our product pipeline reflects the needs of the veterinarians while also considering market requirements and our corporate objectives.”- Gerald Solensky, Jr.


Zomedica Pharmaceuticals Corp.



Gerald Solensky, Jr.

+1 734-369-2555







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