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World first canine cancer cure

FROM the remote and flourishing rainforest of Far North Queensland to the most famous cities in the world, a Brisbane pharmaceutical company is helping our furry friends overcome terminal illnesses that were formerly deemed fatal.

QBiotics, a life-sciences company based at Taringa in Brisbane and with Discovery Lab set in the secluded forests of Yungaburra in Far North Queensland has been developing ground-breaking anti-cancer and wound healing therapies for our canine companions for years.

Late last year its revolutionary treatment STELFONTA (tigilanol tiglate) was given the tick of approval by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Centre for Veterinary Medicine in the United States.

FDA’s approval follows the 2020 marketing authorisation of STELFONTA by the European Medicines Agency, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in the United Kingdom and Swissmedic which has resulted in huge sales across all major European markets.

Dr Gordon said QBiotics and its global partner Virbac have already launched STELFONTA to primary care veterinarians and millions of dogs would be saved each year.

“We’re excited to be working with Virbac to bring the drug to the US market to help treat the three million dogs there that each year are diagnosed with cancer,” she said.

The active pharmaceutical ingredient in Stelfonta – tigilanol tiglate – comes from the Fontainea flower found in the North Queensland rainforests.

“STELFONTA is easy to administer, provides 75% complete tumour resolution after just one injection and dogs quickly regain pre-treatment quality of life making it the first pharmaceutical treatment available for all grades of canine non-metastatic.”

QBiotics Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Dr Victoria Gordon, an internationally renowned scientist with a 30-year background in biotechnology and biomedicine said the approval was another leap forward for a company that conducts its on-field research in Yungaburra, about 70km outside of Cairns.

“Who would ever have thought that this ground-breaking treatment starts its life cycle from a humble little plant found in Far North Queensland,” Dr Gordon said.

“It proves the efficacy of discovery from our natural environment, much the same as mould was transformed into penicillin in the 1800s.

“Our Discovery Lab in Yungaburra, which we started under my house, has become my second home and this approval is pivotal for both STELFONTA and QBiotics.”

QBiotics takes an unusual route to drug development, developing their products simultaneously for the veterinary and human markets.

This provides ‘real world’ disease data to support human clinical programs as well as bringing early revenue streams into the company via quicker to market veterinary products.

The active pharmaceutical ingredient in STELFONTA, tigilanol tiglate, is already showing signs of addressing cancer in humans similarly to what it does for veterinary patients.  QBiotics has completed a Phase I/IIA safety trial in cancer patients and current has four human clinical trials being implemented or in late-stage planning treating head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma.

QBiotics is a Member of Life Sciences Queensland Limited, the Queensland Peak Body that provides pathways for stakeholders to collaborate, grow their businesses and help create an internationally competitive and sustainable life sciences industry in Australia.

LSQ Chief Executive Officer Clare Blain congratulated the QBiotics team on their world first treatment and said it highlighted the integral role life science innovation plays in Queensland’s diverse economy.

“I’m so proud our members, like QBiotics, who are forging new frontiers in animal health.”

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Dr Victoria Gordon Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director
QBiotics Group