Strong anticancer activity identified in newly patented AAD compounds

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017

Clinical-stage oncology company PharmAust has been granted a new patent in the US covering its portfolio of anticancer drugs, recently proven to be more effective at killing cancer cells than their parent compound.

The patent (US_14/917,724) relates to a library of aminoacetonitrile (AAD) compounds, originally developed by Nihon Nohyaku but now wholly owned by PharmAust. The AADs are related to but chemically distinct from their parent compound, Monepantel, which PharmAust is developing as an anticancer therapy for dogs and humans. Monepantel is owned by animal health company Elanco but PharmAust owns the IP rights to use this drug as an anticancer treatment.

One week after the patent was granted, PharmAust reported that initial screens of the AAD compounds have identified molecules that can kill cancer cells grown in vitro up to six times more effectively than Monepantel.

“We are encouraged by these early-stage cell-screening results, which suggest there is considerable scope to improve on the efficacy of Monepantel,” said PharmAust CEO Dr Richard Hopkins. “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.”

PharmAust has now engaged its subsidiary, Epichem, to synthesise and optimise selected candidates from the AAD library. According to Dr Hopkins, the ability to access the in-house medicinal chemistry experts at Epichem highlights a key competitive advantage for PharmAust.

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