Monepantel’s principal metabolite shows anti-cancer activity

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PharmAust (ASX:PAA), a clinical stage oncology company engaged in a collaboration with the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI), has announced findings that confirm 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.

"Importantly, the ONJCRI researchers also demonstrated that, like monepantel, the metabolite has relatively little toxicity upon non-cancer human cells," said the company.

According to PharmAust chief scientific officer, Dr Richard Mollard, “This is very important work. 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. 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.”

PharmAust said it is now in a position to formulate monepantel for its trials by fine-tuning the drug dosage form so that, if studies prove successful, instead of taking a tablet every day, for example, patients may be able to take a tablet only a few times a week to achieve the required anti-cancer effect.