Cannabis Medicine: Providing Patients with the Right Chemical Profile for Their Condition
Shimadzu, Cure Pharmaceutical and CK Sciences recently announced a collaborative agreement focusing on the research and development of safe, cannabis-based pharmaceuticals. Utilizing high-end instrumentation and technical support from Shimadzu, Cure/CK Sciences are aiming to develop validated, viable cannabis-derived treatments. Unpicking the chemistry behind the “Entourage Effect” and producing multi-compound, botanically-derived drugs to leverage this effect is set to be a big focus of their research. Eventually, they plan to progress their candidate drugs through clinical trials based on FDA guidelines and bring them to market.
To find out more about this project we spoke to Tracy Ryan, CEO & Founder, CK Sciences and Bob Clifford, Ph.D., General Manager of Marketing, Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.
JR: What does this agreement mean in practice?
TR (Tracy Ryan): We are all working together towards a common goal. Understanding this plant from a scientific perspective is paramount if we want to provide patients with a medicine that has been vetted to the extent that we believe it’s a profile that can work specifically for what ails them. We have partnered with Shimadzu so we may learn more using equipment we can trust. Their team is helping us to pioneer cannabis research, and we plan to work together to get the answers we need. Shimadzu will be providing top of the line equipment, so we may analyze the many components of the cannabis plant. This will allow our scientific team to develop an understanding of the mode and method in which this plant works in patients.
BC (Bob Clifford): From Shimadzu’s perspective, we are eager to collaborate with scientists leading the way in pharmaceutical cannabis research. This relationship will be invaluable as we learn more about cannabis. Beyond that, these real-world laboratory analyses, and the feedback provided by CK Sciences/Cure, will help us improve or modify our instruments to better serve customer needs.
JR: Can you discuss any specific projects/aims this collaboration will focus on?
TR: CannaKids and Cure are funding the next 4 years of research at the Technion Institute in Israel, and are in the process of planning human trials with top hospitals across the US. Our focus is to use the research and our human trials to design products that can be rolled out into the pharmaceutical market place. When that occurs, the high costs of this medicine will be covered by insurance, and patients will have profiles that have been identified to be effective towards their specific ailments.
BC: Shimadzu has always been reliant on customer feedback as it develops new instruments and techniques; collaborative relationships drive our business. As we work closely with CK Sciences/Cure, our hope is to gain an even greater understanding of what they, and other laboratories entering this market, need in order to provide the instrumentation, methods, and support required for success.
JR: What is the “Entourage Effect” and why is it important?
TR: The Entourage Effect is when a specific combination of compounds work together to create a desired clinical effect. With cannabis, we just aren’t seeing the same kind of healing with an isolated compound as we are when using a combination of cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids derived from the plant. More research is required to elucidate the mechanisms at play when patients receive these cannabis-derived combinatorial treatments.
JR: A cannabis-based drug leveraging the entourage effect will present regulatory challenges that a more traditional synthetic chemical-based, single API drug does not. How will this collaboration overcome these challenges?
TR: We are investigating taking a botanical, compounding pharmacy approach. With cannabis, if we want to be successful this is a hurdle that must be overcome. We feel by working towards this approach we have a better chance of getting there.
Tracy Ryan and Bob Clifford were speaking to Jack Rudd, Senior Editor for Technology Networks.