PharmAust (ASX: PAA) has locked in a US patent for its aminoacetonitrile compound drug portfolio, which have anti-cancer properties.
“Allowance of this patent secures PharmAust’s ownership for over 50 novel aminoacetonitrile compounds in a major world market,” PharmAust chief executive officer Dr Richard Hopkins said.
Dr Hopkins added the compounds had demonstrated “anti-cancer” activity and the company plans to develop its own pipeline of cancer drugs.
Nihon Nohyaku initially developed the compounds, but PharmAust now wholly-owns the technology after entering an agreement in early September.
Under the September agreement PharmAust received Nihon Nohyaku’s interest in the anti-cancer drug portfolio which contains the aminoacetonitrile compounds, while Nihon Nohyaku will receive royalties on all sales made from developing the drugs.
PharmAust’s wholly-owned subsidiary Epichem’s drug discovery team will synthesise and optimise selected aminoacetonitrile compound drugs from the portfolio. Epichem’s drug discovery team has successfully manufactured a number of new drugs for its clients that have progressed to clinical trials.
The company’s flagship drug is monepantel, which inhibits a key cancer driver pathway. Monepantel has undergone phase one clinical trials in humans and dogs and it was well-tolerated as well as reducing key prognostic biomarkers.
In an October update, PharmAust announced it had appointed BRI Pharmaceutical Research to reformulate monepantel to make it less bitter, boost the dug concentrations and make it more easily absorbed.
Studies were planned to kick off mid this month using rodents before moving to canines next month.
PharmAust executive chairman Roger Aston said the veterinary cancer market is worth about half a billion a year and the company is targeting oncology medicines for both humans and animals.
PharmAust is a clinical-stage oncology company developing cancer therapies for humans and animals, specialising in repurposing existing drugs, which it believes lowers the risks of development and associated costs. Repurposing already approved drugs for oncology also enables the company to fast-track the drug to market.