Monepantel (MPL) is an oral aminoacetonitrile (AAD) compound that modulates the mTOR pathway, which is recognised as a key driver of cancer. PharmAust is evaluating MPL for treatment of lymphomas and other cancers in companion animals. The overall market for veterinary medical products is more than $22 billion. Key drivers include increasing dog numbers (90 million dogs now in the US) and an increasing willingness for owners to spend more on their pets as they are considered part of the family. According to American Pet Products (2015), almost 80 percent of all dog owners have their dogs treated with drugs, compared to about 50 percent in 1998.
An estimated 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer in each year in the US compared to 1.7 million humans. Many of the most common cancers in dogs (eg. Lymphoma, Osteosarcoma, Mammary) are recognised as being very similar to human cancers. As such, dogs are increasingly recognised as excellent models for human disease. PharmAust’s strategy is to develop MPL as a novel therapy to treat common cancers in dogs and then use this information to inform and de-risk its human clinical development programme. As MPL is already registered for use in animals we can significantly reduce the cost and time required to register a new treatment for pets. Further, PharmAust has shown that MPL is a cost-effective, safe and potent therapy, which meets the unique combination of criteria required to generate a commercial return in the companion animal drug market.