Oncology company PharmAust (ASX: PAA) has revealed positive news in relation to its ongoing development of monepantel, with the company confirming that monepantel’s major metabolite has exhibited anti-cancer activity.
PharmAust said that it had obtained an “important finding” confirming anti-cancer activity of monepantel’s major metabolite, monepantel sulfone.
The human cancer cell lines tested were representative of cancers that PharmAust is currently studying for treatment in its upcoming Phase 2 trial in humans.
Furthermore, researchers from the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) – PharmAust’s collaborative partners in the study – demonstrated that metabolite had relatively little toxicity upon non-cancer human cells.
Today’s announcement follows last month’s news coming out from the ONJCRI that it had demonstrated anti-cancer activity for monepantel manufactured according to its recently developed aminoacetonitrile GMP production method with Syngene.
PharmAust’s development partner Syngene provides what it calls “integrated services” to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, nutrition, animal health, consumer goods and specialty chemical industries all over the world with high-profile clients including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Baxter, Amgen, GSK, Zoetis, and Merck.
Researchers at the ONJCRI tested monepantel manufactured to this method upon human cancer cell lines and non-cancer cell lines.
PharmAust reported that “cancer cell lines showed the expected sensitivity to treatment with the PharmAust monepantel, while non-cancer cells were relatively unaffected.”
Researchers and clinicians of the ONJCRI are involved in more than 200 clinical trials, giving patients access to potential new treatments including immunotherapies and personalised medicine.
One of the possible eventualities of the findings published today is that PharmAust is now able to formulate monepantel for its trials by fine-tuning the drug dosage form.
If successful, patients will be able to reduce the frequency with which they need to take tablets – from daily to intermittent weekly dosages – without compromising the desired anti-cancer effect of the drug.
“PharmAust has found that in both humans and dogs monepantel is metabolised to monepantel sulfone and this metabolite remains in the body for some time. Importantly, this metabolite appears to have the same, targeted cytotoxic effect upon cancer cells and the same non-toxic effect upon non-cancer cells as monepantel,” said Dr Richard Mollard.
“This means that monepantel and its metabolite are predicted to provide an enduring and specific effect through a “double kick” to cancer cells, while minimally affecting normal cells in the body,” added Dr Mollard.