Clinical-stage oncology company PharmAust (ASX: PAA) has received a hefty rebate from the Australian Tax Office under the national research and development tax incentive scheme for the work of its wholly-owned subsidiaries Epichem Pty Ltd and Pitney Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd.
The company today announced it had received a $750,000 refund relating to research and development activities conducted during the 2019-2020 financial year, and will use it to advance a series of clinical trial programs aimed at human and animal healthcare.
PharmAust finance director Sam Wright said the company had previously lodged an application with AusIndustry (within the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science) following advice that its research and development programs may qualify for the rebate.
“This incentive is an important initiative to support the development of Australian innovations and we are appreciative of the recognition,” he said.
“[We are now] well-funded to pursue our various preclinical and clinical commitments.”
The research and development tax incentive scheme is jointly administered by the Australian Taxation Office and AusIndustry, under which companies can receive a refundable tax offset of up to a 43.5% on eligible expenses.
It aims to boost competitiveness and improve productivity across the economy by encouraging industry to embark on research and development work which may not otherwise have been conducted without an incentive in place.
When PharmAust acquired life science company Pitney Pharmaceuticals in 2013, it also took on the rights to three oncology technology platforms being developed to improve health outcomes for cancer patients.
Pitney’s lead product monepantel is already approved for veterinary use and is being re-purposed as an anti-cancer drug in canines and humans.
This week, PharmAust announced that ongoing testing of monepantel had demonstrated anti-viral activity in cultured cell infection models of the COVID-19 virus.
Epichem was established in 2002 to deliver high-quality medicinal and synthetic chemistry services for the advancement of drug discovery projects from assessment to candidate nomination.
The company has made significant contributions to new compounds in pre-clinical and clinical trials and is experienced in a range of disease indications including central nervous system disorders, oncology, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and Hepatitis C.
Last month, Epichem secured a licencing deal with US-based Thermaquatica to research, develop and promote a disruptive flow reactor technology which converts waste to fuel.