Who's a good boy?

Anti-cancer drug developer PharmAust (ASX:PAA) has released another round of data showing the effectiveness of its monepantel tablet in dogs.

The latest data from its Phase I trial of monepantel in healthy dogs has shown that, following the consumption of one tablet, blood concentrations of monepantel exceeded those observed in its Phase I clinical trial in humans, which were associated with reduced tumour marker levels in blood.

The company has been tweaking the drug since April last year, when it got the go-ahead to begin trials of its dog cancer pill, which uses elements of de-worming drug monepantel.

In January, PharmAust changed the formulation to make it taste better to encourage better absorption of the drug. It ramped up production of those pills in February, announcing it had made 2,000 tablets for the Phase I trial in nine canines.

And the company told investors today that blood levels of monepantel from a single tablet “align with those predicted, to produce suppression of tumour markers and tumour regression”.

Shares rocketed 28 per cent when the market opened, jumping to 4.1c, their highest point in about a month.

Monepantel concentrations in blood also exceeded levels observed to achieve anti-cancer activity in mice bearing human cancer xenografts.

Dr Richard Mollard, the company’s chief scientific officer, said the results would please dog owners with sick pups.

“This is a pleasing result as it means dosing of canines by their owners will be much less of a challenge using these tablets,” he said.

“PharmAust will next investigate dose escalation and repeat dose administration to align long term administration frequency with these same blood levels, anti-cancer activity and the very good safety setting established for this drug.”