Longer, Healthier, Happier This Company Reveals Groundbreaking Approach to Big Dog Lifespan
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Longer, Healthier, Happier: This Company Reveals Groundbreaking Approach to Big Dog Lifespan

All dogs may find their way to heaven, but a biotech startup is aiming to extend the earthly lives of larger canines, such as labradors.

Loyal, a San Francisco-based biotech company focused on developing longevity treatments for dogs, revealed on Tuesday that a drug designed to increase the lifespan of larger dogs, who typically live shorter lives than smaller breeds, might hit the market in the coming years.

In a news release, Loyal announced that the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine has identified a reasonable expectation of effectiveness for the drug, known as LOY-001. This marks a significant milestone towards obtaining full approval.

The advancement is notable as it represents the first such achievement for any longevity drug, signifying progress in expediting the pathway for canine treatments and, potentially, human applications, according to Vinod Khosla, the founder of Khosla Ventures, an investor in Loyal.

The drug, designed to decrease levels of a growth-promoting hormone believed to shorten the lives of larger dog breeds, is projected to be administered by veterinarians every three to six months.

Loyal anticipates that, pending FDA approval of the company’s manufacturing and safety data, the drug could be available in 2026.

As of now, the FDA has not provided an immediate response to requests for comment.

Longer, Healthier, Happier This Company Reveals Groundbreaking Approach to Big Dog Lifespan

As per the American Kennel Club, larger breeds like Great Danes and Newfoundlands typically have a lifespan of seven to eight years, whereas smaller breeds like Chihuahuas and Miniature Poodles live an average of 20 years.

The correlation between a dog’s size and its life expectancy is not a natural occurrence but rather a result of selective breeding for traits like herding, protection, and companionship, according to Brennen McKenzie, Loyal’s director of veterinary medicine and a practicing veterinarian.

McKenzie views the shorter lifespan of larger dogs not as an inevitability, but as a genetically linked ailment stemming from historical artificial selection.

He suggests that this could be addressed and treated with a drug, as mentioned in the Loyal release.

The company points out that historically, selective breeding has contributed to genetically linked diseases in various breeds, such as cancer in Golden Retrievers, hip dysplasia in German Shepherds, and canine brachycephalic syndrome in Bulldogs.

Loyal is not the only entity exploring ways to prolong the lives of dogs.

The Dog Aging Project, affiliated with the University of Washington, is currently conducting a canine clinical trial involving rapamycin, a drug that has shown promise in increasing lifespan and delaying age-related disorders in mice.

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