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PharmAust anti-cancer agent six times more effective

Perth based biotech PharmAust have made a breakthrough discovery related to their flagship anti-cancer drug, Monepantel, with initial tests of compounds in the same family of drugs showing they can kill cancer up to six times more effectively than Monepantel itself.

The Perth-based, clinical stage oncology company told the ASX this week it had made the discovery in early stage screening tests of compounds in its proprietary library of aminacetonitrile compounds or ‘AAD’s” related to Monepantel.

The tests identified more active AAD molecules that could kill cancer cells grown in vitro up to six times more effectively than the parent compound Monepantel. The newly tested molecules are chemically distinct from Monepantel, which PharmAust is developing as an anti-cancer therapy for dogs and humans.

PharmAust’s CEO, Dr Richard Hopkins, said: “We are encouraged by these early stage cell-screening results, which suggest there is considerable scope to improve on the efficacy of Monepantel. It also supports our decision to acquire the library of AAD compounds from Nihon Nohyaku in order to develop our own proprietary pipeline of cancer drugs. The fact we’ve already identified compounds with improved potency, which we fully own, is a very encouraging start.”

The library of AADs was acquired only last month in a deal with Nihon Nohyaku, a major Japanese pharmaceutical company.

Unlike other biotechs that are required to burn money to finance their research and development activities, Pharmaust already own a stand alone business known as Epichem that boasts an entire staff of scientists and PHD’s that are paid to perform research projects for outside parties.

PharmAust management said the company intended to continue working with its team at Epichem to synthesise and screen new and improved AAD compounds.

Epichem provides hi-tech chemistry and pharmaceutical products and services and exports to more than 33 countries. Having this kind of capability in-house is a major competitive advantage for PharmAust.

The recent exciting test results follow news last week that PharmAust had secured a US patent for the AADs acquired from Nihon Nohyaku, which is looking more and more like a shrewd move by the company.

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