Clinical-stage oncology company PharmAust Ltd (ASX:PAA) is working closely with Dr Martijn van Hemert at Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) in the Netherlands undertaking research to increase the solubility of MPL, as a precursor to MPL demonstrating applicability against coronavirus.
This involves finding conditions that are compatible with the highly specialised assays and coronavirus culture conditions for testing MPL. These assays and this development programme are crucial for later performing work in more advanced human airway systems.
Combining the conditions required for the specialised cell-based assays at LUMC with the highly insoluble nature and unique features of MPL, means the standard assays used for other compounds require a unique high level of optimisation in MPL testing.
Chief Scientific Officer Dr Richard Mollard said PharmAust has successfully reformulated monepantel (MPL) from a liquid product to a tablet. Part of the challenge in reformulation was addressing the poorly soluble nature of MPL in water.
PharmAust’s clinical research plans, however, remain on track. MPL manufacture in preparation for research and development in Phase 1/2 clinical trials is ongoing with trials remaining due to commence later in CY 2021.
PharmAust is delighted to have the opportunity to work with a researcher of the internationally recognised calibre of Dr Martijn van Hemert,” Dr Mollard said.
“Moving MPL forward as an antiviral weapon against COVID-19 is critical for the armamentarium being developed globally to fight this disease. The importance of this work may be best described by Dr van Hemert’s narrative during his recent European Parliamentary Research Interview about COVID-19 treatments.
“PharmAust is grateful to the researchers who are presently working with disrupted global supply chains and under the Netherlands’ strictest COVID-19 associated lockdowns yet. These lockdowns have endured since 15 December 2020 and will remain in place until 19 January 2021. Researchers have done a fantastic job meeting these challenges and PharmAust will be pleased to update shareholders as results come to hand.”