Biopharma Companies Mix Medications and Cannabis

Potential treatments range from eye drops to chewing gum

From eye drops for glaucoma to chewing gum for irritable bowel syndrome, cannabis derivatives are making their way into FDA-approved trials, according to a report from MedCityNews. Chief among the molecules of interest is cannabidiol (CBD), which does not deliver a hallucinogenic high. The chemical formula for CBD is C21H30O2.

Companies are applying cannabis-containing compounds to psychiatric illnesses, neurological disorders, and skin and digestive diseases.

The article lists five biopharma companies that are hoping to break into the cannabis therapeutics market.

  • Zynerba Pharmaceuticals has a synthetic gel and a patch that can deliver CBD transdermally. Phase 2 data on the gel are expected in the first half of 2017. In addition, early-stage research is under way in subjects with post-traumatic stress disorder, autoimmune disorders, and cancer-related pain.
  • Axim Biotechnologies is developing MedChewRx, a CBD-based chewing gum, which is being evaluated as a treatment for patients with spasticity and pain related to multiple sclerosis. An alternative formulation, CanChew Plus gum, is poised to enter clinics as a potential treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Additional studies are under way in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
  • Kalytera is developing CBD prodrugs and formulations designed to overcome clinical limitations associated with natural CBD, including poor oral bioavailability and a short half-life.
  • Insys Therapeutics has commercialized Subsys, a sublingual fentanyl spray for pain. The company is now applying its sublingual spray technology to deliver CBD for a variety of pediatric epilepsies, including Dravet syndrome, infantile spasms, and Lennox–Gastaut syndrome.
  • Nemus Biosciences is evaluating a variety of CBD compounds for eye disorders, especially those associated with the posterior compartment of the eye. One of its lead assets, NB1111, is a CBD-based eye drop for glaucoma.

Source: MedCityNews; February 6, 2017.