Synthetic Cannabinoids: The New Age of Medical Marijuana
July 22nd, 2019
App, Exclusive, News, Top News
Believe it or not, the world’s first blockbuster drug is still one of the most commonly used today. Acetylsalicylic acid, better known as Aspirin®, is a synthetic derivative of the natural substance salicylic acid, an extract from the bark of the white willow tree. Any company would like to invent a drug that enjoys 100+ years of massive global usage and the possibility exists that cannabis could play a role in making that happen for someone.
Charting a Similar Path
People have been using salicylic acid to treat inflammation and fevers for over 2,400 years. That’s right, when Greek engineers invented the catapult about 400 B.C., they may have used salicylic acid to treat their achy joints after moving some heavy rocks into position. Later, chemist Charles Frédéric Gerhardt made a breakthrough in 1853 by creating acetylsalicylic acid for the first time. By 1899, Bayer dialed-in the chemical structure and was selling Aspirin® to the world.
Hemp, a cousin to cannabis that lacks tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive high in marijuana, is regarded as one of the world’s oldest industrial crops. It’s history dates back more than 10,000 years.
About 8,000 years ago, cannabis seeds and oil were used for food in China, with the first documented use of medical cannabis happening by Chinese Emperor Shen Neng roughly 4,750 years ago. Interestingly, the Chinese world for “anesthesia” (mázui 麻) translates to “cannabis intoxication” because it was used to sedate people (along with wine) before surgery.
Now that the ending of cannabis prohibition is sweeping the globe, there has been a huge upswing in laboratory and clinical research as biotechs and pharmas seek to bring new cannabis-based products to market. Will one of these drugs become the next aspirin?
In an interview with Bloomberg, Marc Feldmann, an immunologist who helped discover a class of drugs that includes the blockbusters Humira and Remicade, commented that there is “massive potential” for the medical uses related to cannabis. Dr. Feldman now has dedicated himself to the market opportunity, teaming with cannabis researcher legend Dr. Raphael Mechoulam to start Toronto-based CannBioRex Pharmaceuticals.
While most companies are looking to the cannabis plant for active ingredients, Dr. Feldmann believes that the key to a new class of drugs resides in synthetic cannabis.
Dr. Joseph Tucker, an experienced executive and expert in synthetic active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and drug development and commercialization, shares the view of Dr. Feldmann insomuch that synthetic cannabis represents the future for purity and repeatability in cannabis-based drug development. Dr. Tucker is the Executive Chair and Co-Founder of Willow Biosciences (CSE: WLLW)(OTC: CANSF) with the purpose of becoming the largest manufacturer of biosynthetically produced cannabinoids.
The synthetic biology company was formed this year through the merger of BIOCAN Technologies: a team of experienced executives from Calgary and researchers from the University of British Columbia, and Epimeron: a team of researchers from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
“In addition to consistency and reproducibility, synthetic cannabis can be a much more cost-effective process than plant-based extraction or chemical synthesis, the only options that companies have today,” said Dr. Tucker in a phone interview with CFN Media. “Based on our estimates, biosynthetic production is about 90% faster and cheaper than plant-based extraction. We are of the opinion that synthetic processes will ultimately re-shape how cannabinoids are produced and open new gateways to advanced pharmaceutical opportunities to help people in medical need.”
Willow’s scientific progress is complemented by a team of experts in other areas of business, including CEO Trevor Peters. Peters has co-founded four startups in the last 15 years and been involved in corporate exits totaling more than $4 billion. He was most recently CFO at Caracal Energy, a London listed energy company which Glencore (OTCQX: GLNCY) bought in 2014 for $1.4 billion.
“We’ve got a great, well-rounded team at Willow Biosciences that can execute on our initiatives,” said Dr. Tucker. “There is a growing library of evidence to the effectiveness of cannabinoids. This will provide tailwinds for drug companies to push hard to utilize cannabinoids in new therapeutics, which should have us well positioned to fill future demand.”
How Massive is Massive?
Clinically speaking, there are more than 300 cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoid-based treatment options currently in human trials for indications such as PTSD, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, schizophrenia and others. The APIs are being sourced from traditional methods, which keeps research on promising rarer cannabinoids out of reach. In order to tap into this market, an economically viable production method, like synthesis, is necessary.
Historic sales of cannabis-related drugs have been splotchy at best. The market for Marinol (dronabinol), a synthetic pill based on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and approved in 1998 for treating nausea and vomiting in cancer patients and anorexia in AIDS patients, was about $150 million in 2016.
On the other hand, analysts are higher on new drugs. Evaluate Pharma forecasts that Epidiolex, the novel CBD drug of GW Pharma (NASDAQ: GWPH) approved last year by the FDA for treating two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, will reach blockbuster status with sales topping $1 billion in 2021.
More broadly, the U.S. cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals market size is projected to grow to $50 billion annually by 2029, according to Ackrell Capital’s 2018 Cannabis Investment Report. Analysts at Cowen predict that U.S. retail sales of CBD will reach $16 billion by 2025.
Willow Biosciences plan is to be a leading player catering to both markets. In order to achieve this goal, Willow last month partnered with Noramco, the largest supplier of controlled substance APIs in the U.S. and biggest producer of pharmaceutical APIs in the world. Specifically, the two will work collaboratively to develop a yeast-based biosynthesis platform for the production and distribution of CBD.
Noramco is stepping up to tap into this burgeoning market. Per the accord, Willow will take care of expenses related to optimizing the yeast strains and Noramco will take it from there. Noramco will cover the costs for scale-up, regulatory submission, marketing and distribution through its extensive global network.
The beauty of the deal for a small company like Willow Biosciences is that both partners will share equally in the profits.
The above article is sponsored content. Emerging Growth LLC, which owns CannabisFN.com and CFN Media, has been hired to create awareness. Please follow the link below to view our full disclosure outlining our compensation: http://www.cannabisfn.com/legal-disclaimer/
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
Follow Us on Social Media
About CFN Media Group
CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN) owns and operates CFN Media Group, the premier agency and financial media network reaching executives, entrepreneurs and consumers worldwide. Through its proprietary content creation, video library, and distribution via www.CannabisFN.com, CFN has built an extensive database of cannabis interest, assisting many of the world’s largest cannabis firms and CBD brands to build awareness and thrive. For more information, please visit www.cfnenterprisesinc.com.
Disclaimer: Matters discussed on this website contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. CFN Media Group, which owns CannabisFN, is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority and does not provide nor claims to provide investment advice or recommendations to readers of this release. CFN Media Group, which owns CannabisFN, may from time-to-time have a position in the securities mentioned herein and will increase or decrease such positions without notice. The Information contains forward-looking statements, i.e. statements or discussions that constitute predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, estimates, or projections as indicated by such words as "expects", "will", "anticipates", and "estimates"; therefore, you should proceed with extreme caution in relying upon such statements and conduct a full investigation of the Information and the Profiled Issuer as well as any such forward-looking statements. Any forward looking statements we make in the Information are limited to the time period in which they are made, and we do not undertake to update forward looking statements that may change at any time; The Information is presented only as a brief "snapshot" of the Profiled Issuer and should only be used, at most, and if at all, as a starting point for you to conduct a thorough investigation of the Profiled Issuer and its securities and to consult your financial, legal or other adviser(s) and avail yourself of the filings and information that may be accessed at www.sec.gov, www.pinksheets.com, www.otcmarkets.com or other electronic sources, including: (a) reviewing SEC periodic reports (Forms 10-Q and 10-K), reports of material events (Form 8-K), insider reports (Forms 3, 4, 5 and Schedule 13D); (b) reviewing Information and Disclosure Statements and unaudited financial reports filed with the Pink Sheets or www.otcmarkets.com; (c) obtaining and reviewing publicly available information contained in commonlyknown search engines such as Google; and (d) consulting investment guides at www.sec.gov and www.finra.com. You should always be cognizant that the Profiled Issuers may not be current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and OTCMarkets and/or have negative signs at www.otcmarkets.com (See section below titled "Risks Related to the Profiled Issuers, which provides additional information pertaining thereto). For making specific investment decisions, readers should seek their own advice and that of their own professional advisers. CFN Media Group, which owns CannabisFN, may be compensated for its Services in the form of cash-based and/or equity-based compensation in the companies it writes about, or a combination of the two. For full disclosure, please visit: https://www.cannabisfn.com/legal-disclaimer/. A short time after we acquire the securities of the foregoing company, we may publish the (favorable) information about the issuer referenced above advising others, including you, to purchase; and while doing so, we may sell the securities we acquired. In addition, a third-party shareholder compensating us may sell his or her shares of the issuer while we are publishing favorable information about the issuer. Except for the historical information presented herein, matters discussed in this article contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. CFN Media Group, which owns CannabisFN, is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority, and does not provide nor claims to provide investment advice or recommendations to readers of this release. CFN Media Group, which owns CannabisFN, may from time to time have a position in the securities mentioned herein and will increase or decrease such positions without notice. For making specific investment decisions, readers should seek their own advice and that of their own professional advisers. CFN Media Group, which owns CannabisFN, may be compensated for its Services in the form of cash-based and/or equity- based compensation in the companies it writes about, or a combination of the two. For full disclosure please visit: https://www.cannabisfn.com/legal-disclaimer/.