PharmAust highlights survival rate success in trial studying dogs with blood cancer

Fri 10 Feb 23, 4:32pm (AEST)
Curious worried dog in bed
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • PharmAust says a popular wormicide medication used on farms can prevent cancer build-up in the body, as well as proteins in the brain
  • Company currently using the drug in human COVID and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) trials
  • The company now says today it also boosts the life expectancy of dogs with lymphoma, the most common form of blood cancer

PharmAust (ASX:PAA) is one of the more interesting healthcare stocks on the ASX. 

Currently, the company is focused on treating humans with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) with a veterinary drug most generally reserved for use as a wormicide given to cows, pigs, and sheeps on farms. 

That drug is called Monepantel (MPL). The thesis of PAA’s therapeutic strategy overall is that MPL has a desirable unintended side-effect. 

MPL, according to PharmAust’s boffins in the lab, blocks the body’s ability to produce certain enzymes which have the unfortunate effect of promoting cancer cells to grow, as well as the build-up of other proteins in the brain. 

These advantageous side-effects of MPL were outlined in a paper sponsored by PharmAust back in May 2021.

MPL potential for human and animal applications 

Right now, however, the company is using MPL to treat cancer in dogs. 

Specifically, dogs with B Cell Lymphoma (BCL), the most common type of blood cancer. 

PAA is testing MPL on dogs with the condition which have received no prior treatment, and the company reported some initial success on Friday, pushing shares up 3.6% to 8.6c heading into mid-afternoon trades. 

PharmAust said on Friday all dogs as part of the trial are living three times longer than the average baseline level for untreated dogs with BCL. 

“Partial response”

“Two dogs have had a partial response as assessed by the administering veterinarians,” the company wrote.

“This partial response is a decrease in tumour size of over 30% [with] no new lesions.”

Side effects, the company notes, were minimal or not detected. 

Little Louie 

One dog, Louie, has been alive for 220 days now following a BCL diagnosis which PharmAust says is being treated with nothing more than 3 tablets of MPL a day. 

“It appears his lymphoma has stabilised as blood tests did not indicate any progression from the previous examination and his peripheral nodes have increased by only 2% since October 2022,” the company wrote. 

“He is experiencing some progressive weight loss but his Quality of Life (QoL) remains excellent.” 

PAA did note on Friday that the treatment is not a cure. “Most dogs with lymphoma will die from lymphoma,” the company wrote. 

PAA's one year charts
PAA's one year charts


Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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