PharmAust’s Epichem produces first batch of chemistry grade hand sanitiser

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Apr 20, 2020, in ASX Biotechs

PharmAust Ltd’s (ASX:PAA) wholly owned subsidiary Epichem has produced its first batch of chemistry grade hand sanitiser, and the group’s chemists are also producing hand sanitiser to support and protect members of the community from COVID-19.

PharmAust is a clinical-stage company developing targeted cancer therapeutics for humans and animals.

The company specialises in repurposing marketed drugs, lowering the risks and costs of development.

PharmAust’s subsidiary Epichem is a successful contract medicinal chemistry company that has been delivering products and services in synthetic and medicinal chemistry to the global drug discovery and pharmaceutical industries in over 40 countries worldwide for more than 16 years.

The subsidiary has newly constructed purpose-built, state-of-the-art laboratories and has world class equipment and expertise in synthetic and medicinal chemistry to support drug discovery projects, and for the cost-effective synthesis of drug analogue libraries and intermediates.

Sanitiser meets World Health Organisation standards

As a WA-based chemistry service provider, management has expressed its proactive stance on stopping the spread of the virus.

The sanitiser has been formulated according to specifications provided by the World Health Organisation.

At this stage, the company is making the product to donate supplies to healthcare and aged care agencies in line with its commitment to corporate social responsibility.

The Breast Cancer Research Centre and MercyCare’s Aged Care, Disability, Family & Community and Early Learning services have already benefitted from the company’s donations and more recipients will follow.

There was also an important development for Epichem in January when the company was awarded an extension to its current contract with Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) (www.dndi.org).

The contract will see Epichem continue to provide synthetic and medicinal chemistry expertise to support DNDi’s drug discovery projects aimed at developing new treatments for neglected diseases, until 31 December, 2020.

Monepantel supplied for COVID-19 testing

PharmAust is also having its share of success as regards to drugs working through the clinical trial stage.

Just last Friday the company entered into a Materials Transfer Agreement with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) of Medical Research in Melbourne to test the effects of monepantel (MPL) on COVID-19 infections.

Read: Could PAA’s lead cancer drug treatment treat COVID-19?

Monepantel (MPL) is PharmAust’s lead drug candidate, being a novel, potent and safe inhibitor of the mTOR pathway – a key driver of cancer.

Its request for COVID-19 related trials prompted a surge of nearly 20% in the company’s share price.

While there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.

Monepantel’s mechanism of action in cancer may also prove to be beneficial in the treatment of certain viral diseases.

PharmAust’s chief scientific officer Dr Richard Mollard said, “The studies will commence shortly and WEHI aims to provide a preliminary data summary in May 2020.”

The company has extensively evaluated monepantel in its anti-cancer programmes in humans and in animal models.

MPL has been evaluated in Phase 1 clinical trials in humans and dogs, demonstrating that it was well tolerated and produced a significant reduction in key prognostic biomarkers.

PharmAust is uniquely positioned to commercialise MPL for treatment of human and veterinary cancers as it advances the drug in Phase 2 clinical trials.

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