Joseph Scaduto, chief executive of Traverse Biosciences, at the Center...

Joseph Scaduto, chief executive of Traverse Biosciences, at the Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University on June 5, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Stony Brook-based Traverse Biosciences, a startup drug research and commercialization company, has secured a license that will allow it to develop a drug to treat gum disease in dogs.

Traverse's agreement with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York will give the company exclusive rights to commercialize molecular drug compounds invented by Stony Brook University scientists. Using that research, the company hopes to create a chewable, once-daily prescription medication capable of controlling canine periodontal disease.

Periodontitis, an inflammatory disease, leads to tooth loss and affects about 80 percent of dogs by age 3. Annually, periodontal therapy costs dog owners more than $14 billion, according to a Stony Brook news release.

"We're engaging private investors and potential partners to garner the resources to bring the drugs to market," Traverse CEO Joseph Scaduto said Monday. His company, which collaborates with researchers at Stony Brook and the Feinstein Institute, the Manhasset-based research branch of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, has received more than $500,000 in investment and grant funding since its founding in 2013.

While Traverse is focused on animal health now, the company holds rights through the agreement to pursue treatments of periodontitis in humans. According to Centers for Disease Control estimates, roughly half of U.S. adults ages 30 and older have periodontitis.

Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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