OWC Looks to Bring Pharma-Grade Cannabis Therapeutics to Market
SEATTLE, WA / ACCESSWIRE / March 15, 2016 / There are many different companies active in the medical marijuana industry, but few of them are conducting clinical research trials in accord with the Helsinki Committee Institutional Review Board protocols. Most investors are familiar with GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH) and its Sativex® cannabinoid medicine for the treatment of multiple sclerosis symptoms and cancer pain indications, but OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp. (OTCQB: OWCP) is a lesser known company operating in the burgeoning industry.
Based in Israel, an international tech and biotech hub, and the epicenter of medical cannabis research, the OWCP is conducting clinical trials of cannabis-based treatments for multiple myeloma, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder and migraines. The team is also working on several proprietary drug delivery mechanisms designed to provide consistent and reliable cannabinoid doses to patients more efficiently than smoking or consuming marijuana edibles.
High Quality Clinical Trials
OWC Pharmaceuticals‘ clinical studies are being conducted at the Sheba Academic Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, Israel, in full compliance with Helsinki Committee/IRB conventions. Sheba is one of the leading medical centers in the Middle East, and one of only two facilities in Israel with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services‘ federal-wide assurance designation, which provides it with U.S. federal research grants involving human clinical trials.
The Company’s clinical programs are being spearheaded by Dr. Yehuda Baruch, who headed Israel’s national medical marijuana program from 2003 to 2013. Dr. Baruch’s vast experience in both the regulatory and medical aspects of the cannabis industry have been very instrumental in moving OWCP’s clinical programs forward while ensuring full compliance with the terms established under the IRB-approved protocols.
Initial Focus on Multiple Myeloma
OWC Pharmaceuticals‘ most advanced clinical program is targeting multiple myeloma – a form of bone marrow cancer that accounts for 2% of all cancer deaths. In preliminary studies, the Company demonstrated that some combinations of THC and CBD led to the eradication of 100% of myeloma cells in 60% of the cultured cells within 24 to 48 hours of exposure to the cannabinoid formulation. These early stage in-vitro results may be limited, but they demonstrate significant potential within the market.
The Company’s multiple myeloma research is overseen by Dr. Asaf Toker, who now serves as OWCP’s Chief Science Officer. Dr. Toker has extensive industry experience, most recently as CEO of AGAM Group, and Medical Director for Meuhedet Health Services, the third largest health service provider in Israel. Dr. Merav Leiba was also added as Senior Science Advisor and serves as the Head of the Multiple Myeloma Outpatient Clinic and Research Lab at the Sheba Academic Medical Center’s Hematology Institute, where she led the Company’s in-vitro testing.
Additional Clinical Programs
OWC Pharmaceuticals is targeting two other indications alongside its multiple myeloma clinical trials. In psoriasis, the Company has submitted a protocol for a Phase I, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study consisting of multiple escalating doses of cannabinoids to determine the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic profile of medical grade cannabis. OWCP hopes to develop a treatment for the painful skin condition leveraging cannabinoids.
In addition, the Company expects to receive Helsinki Committee approval for a pre-clinical, in-vitro fibromyalgia study during the second quarter of this year. The chronic condition, causing pain throughout the body, affects more than 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3% to 6% of the world’s population. OWCP believes that cannabinoids may be effective in treating the condition and alleviating symptoms for patients with few alternatives.
Other Commercial Activity
OWC Pharmaceuticals operates a consulting division designed to advise medical marijuana businesses around the world. Last year, the Company signed an agreement with MedMar LLC, a U.S. based company with operations in three states, to help them establish a medical cannabis treatment program. The Company will provide MedMar with a variety of services, including defining its product and service offerings, developing operating and training protocols for its staff and management, and ensuring compliance with applicable government regulations.
Also last year, the Company entered into a strategic alliance with Emilia Cosmetics Ltd., one of Israel’s largest private label cosmetic manufacturers, to develop a CBD-infused topical cream which will be used as part of its psoriasis clinical trial. And finally, OWCP is developing tablet and cream-based delivery systems that make cannabinoid consumption and absorption more predictable than conventional medical marijuana delivery methods.
There are many different companies operating in the medical marijuana space, ranging from Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTCQB: MJNA) to Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CARA). OWC Pharmaceuticals differentiates itself from many of its competitors given its practice of conducting IRB-sanctioned clinical trials as it seeks to bring unique indications to market. Further, the Company’s consulting division provides additional near-term revenue to help offset the costs associated with its research and development.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.owcpharma.com.
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SOURCE: CFN Media
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