Clinical stage oncology company PharmAust (ASX: PAA) has appointed Dr Kim Agnew as the new principal investigator for its phase IIb veterinary clinical trial testing anti-cancer drug monepantel in pet dogs with treatment-naïve B-cell lymphoma.
The trial is being run across five sites in Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.
Dr Agnew brings 25 years of animal health experience to the role, having worked in the areas of business and product development, regulatory affairs, clinical research, technical support and pharma-covigilance.
His experience includes four years at German pharmaceutical company Boehringer-Ingelheim; two years with Merial (now Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health); and 18 years with US-based Elanco Animal Health Inc.
Following his appointment to the PharmAust role, Dr Agnew said he was keen to contribute to the important set of canine oncology studies.
“Canine lymphoma is a devastating disease for dogs and owners, and I am sure that, given the team involved in these studies, the best possible data outcomes will be achieved,” he said.
PharmAust chief scientific officer Dr Richard Mollard said Dr Agnew would be a strong replacement for outgoing principal investigator Dr Claire Cannon, from the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Animal Hospital.
“Dr Agnew is an ideally qualified appointment, and we look forward to benefiting from his broad experience in industry settings,” he said.
“Unfortunately, this change also means that recruitment will cease at the Melbourne trial site [but will] continue at pace at other sites and we do not foresee a change in the overall timing of deliverables.”
Clonal expanion of cells
Canine lymphoma is a disease arising from the uncontrolled and pathologic clonal expansion of lymphoid cells of B- or T-cell immunophenotype.
It most commonly involves organised primary and secondary lymphoid tissues, including the bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes and spleen.
PharmAust commenced its phase IIb trial of monepantel tablets to treat canine lymphoma in January, following on from a phase IIa study which showed the drug could result in tumour regression and a stabilising of the disease.
Last month, interim phase IIb results from six canines with stage four to five B-cell lymphoma provided supportive evidence that monepantel blood plasma was at the level required to suppress cancer growth.