Scout Bio, a Philadelphia-based biotechology startup that wants to revolutionize pet medicine, raised $20 million in a private stock sale.

The company plans to use the proceeds to advance its pipeline of one-time gene therapy therapeutics for major chronic pet health conditions including kidney disease, pain and inflammatory skin conditions.

The financing was led by Digitalis Ventures’ Companion Fund and RiverVest Venture Partners. GreenSpring Associates also participated in the company’s series B. venture round

The company’s treatment approach involves delivering therapeutic proteins in pet patients using adeno-associated viral (AAC) vector technology that is administered through a single intramuscular injection.

Scout has formed a partnership with the gene therapy program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, led by Dr. James Wilson, to help further develop the company’s products. Wilson, a leader in gene therapy research and vector discovery and development, is a scientific advisor to, and co-founder of, Scout Bio.

Wilson said the Penn gene therapy program is looking forward to expanding its work applying its AAV research and development into companion animal health to address compliance challenges associated with frequent administration of drugs in pets, and to provide a new method for treating chronic diseases.

“There is now a confluence between matured gene therapy technologies and medical need in animal health, and we believe Scout is positioned very strongly at that intersection and opportunity,” Wilson said.

Scout has obtained exclusive worldwide rights to multiple AAV-based veterinary product candidates and associated AAV technologies for animal health from Penn

“Scout’s mission is to leverage advances in gene therapy to dramatically elevate the standard of care for multiple areas of veterinary medicine that currently rely on chronically administered medicine,” said Dr. Mark Heffernan, Scout’s CEO “Our approach is designed to provide improved patient outcomes via

therapies that have a sustained duration of effect from a one-time dose, aligning with a significant market need for longer-lasting pet medicines that improve compliance and convenience.”

Cindy Cole, a partner at Digitalis Ventures, said her company was attracted to Scout’s goal of improving the standards of care for major chronic health conditions of pets. She noted in the United States alone, there are 90 million dogs and 94 million cats.