The patent filing today is another step forward for PharmAust towards commercialisation of monepantel for antiviral diseases, as the company works to fight different types of cancers, viral and neurological diseases.

Clinical stage biotech company, PharmAust (ASX:PAA) has filed a patent for the use of its lead drug, monepantel (MPL),  in viral diseases.

The company filed a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) application which, amongst other aspects, is directed towards the use of MPL and aminoacetonitrile derivatives as antiviral agents.

It claims an earliest priority date of 11 May 2020.

The company expects that the application will be open for public inspection (OPI) around November this year.


Recent antiviral activities

PharmAust has been very busy on the antiviral front, as it moves towards a COVID-19 Phase I/II trial in humans.

The only anti-viral drug on the market currently approved for the treatment of COVID-19 infection is remdesivir (Gilead Science, Inc). Remdesivir is not a cure and in a clinically controlled trial it reduced time to recovery of hospitalised patients in intensive care from 15 to 11 days. With this success, early predictions were for annual sales of US$2-7.7 billion by 2022.

MPL may have a distinct advantage over many other drugs in development given that it has already been used in human clinical trials and is a very well-known drug with a high safety profile. Remdesivir is an intravenous therapy whereas MPL can be administered orally in tablet form. This means patients could be treated earlier when they first test positive rather than intensive care patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

GMP-quality production of the tablets has commenced and PharmAust has been engaging with clinicians in the UK and US as well as Eastern and Caucasus countries and The Balkans about a Phase I trial in human patients to treat COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, PharmAust signed a deal with Melbourne-based Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), to investigate the effects of MPL on human T-lymphotrophic virus-1 (HTLV-1).

The study of HTLV-1 is of particular significance due to the readily available nature of highly relevant in vitro and in vivo preclinical virus infection models, potentially providing PharmAust with further data to support future human trials.


Treating other diseases

PharmAust has also been developing the MPL drug to treat different types of cancers, viral and neurological diseases.

The company  has been extremely  busy, as it plans to conduct a number of human clinical trials once the GMP-quality tablets have been manufactured.

The company has identified clinical oncology units in Italy and the UK to evaluate its new MPL tablet in a Phase II trial in humans.

It will also be conducting a Phase I/II human trial in motor neurone disease (MND) after being awarded a $900k grant from AFL-linked charity FightMND.

This study will specifically look into patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Motor Neurone Disease (ALS/MND) – a condition that became widely known following the affliction of renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking.

PAA’s Phase III canine cancer trial is also progressing well, as it looks to commercialise MPL for pet dogs with B-cell lymphoma.

Following the treatment of 15 pet dogs during its Phase IIa and Phase IIb studies, the company has successfully achieved the two interim trial primary endpoints: objective tumour regression and increased progression-free survival.

Apart from being listed on the ASX, PharmAust is also listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (code: ECQ).

This article was developed in collaboration with PharmAust, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.