PharmAust inks anti-cancer deal with giant Pharma
ASX-listed biotech PharmAust has struck a landmark deal with US pharmaceutical giant Elanco to develop the Perth-based company’s promising anti-cancer drug monepantel.
In a market update on Wednesday, PharmAust said it had entered an option agreement with Elanco to develop Monepantel, or “MPL” as it is known, to treat cancer in dogs.
Under the milestone deal, Elanco will supply the Perth-based company with high-grade Monepantel for use in clinical trials in dogs to determine the cancer-fighting capacity of the potential breakthrough drug.
The deal represents a major step forward in PharmAust’s path to clinical trials as it ensures ongoing supply of “GMP-grade” Monepantel – a high-grade of the anti-cancer substance already approved by regulators for use in animals.
Importantly, it is also likely to allow PharmAust to scale up MPL production ahead of its planned canine clinical trial later this year as it progresses with the commercialisation of the drug.
PharmAust’s first phase of Monepantel trials showed positive outcomes for patients with solid cancerous tumours that had failed to respond to conventional chemotherapy.
PharmAust CEO Dr Richard Hopkins said: “We are delighted to have entered into this agreement with Elanco, which helps build a relationship with a potential commercial partner. The agreement also secures PharmAust with supply of GMP-grade Monepantel for use in clinical trials for dogs with cancer.”
The arrangement also augurs well for the ongoing relationship between PharmAust and Elanco. PharmAust already has a research and option agreement related to Monepantel with Novartis Animal Health, which was bought out by Elanco several years ago.
The latest update comes after PharmAust recently successfully identified a method to improve MPL’s taste and boost dosage in collaboration with Canadian-based BRI Pharmaceutical Research
With the market for dog cancer treatment, which is predominantly in the USA, estimated to be worth around 550m a year, PharmAust looks like it might be onto something with the Elenaco deal.