Two Stanford researchers have created a pharmaceutical company based on using CBD to develop treatments for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. The company, launched on October 24, is called Katexco Pharmaceuticals and will be based in Canada with a subsidiary in Silicon Valley. While other companies have begun to create CBD-based therapies, such as GW Pharmaceuticals and their Epidiolex medication for epilepsy, Katexco is attempting to be the first company to produce an anti-inflammatory drug based on CBD. CBD is well-documented as an anti-inflammatory compound, giving it the potential to treat numerous diseases.
Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine Jonathan Rothbard and Lawrence Steinman have launched Katexco Pharmaceuticals, a novel company based on developing CBD therapies for inflammatory conditions.
Rothbard and Steinman, who each separately founded successful biotech companies in the past, are working to produce a medication that will be the first of its kind.
Companies like GW Pharmaceuticals have developed a CBD-based medication called Epidiolex (which was recently approved by the FDA in June) for epilepsy, but currently, no CBD medications exist for inflammatory diseases like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Joining the Stanford researchers is Sir Marc Feldmann, a scientist who helped develop Remicade, a drug typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
Remicade is an immunosuppressive drug that blocks the secretion of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a proinflammatory protein released by the immune system.
However, the problem with Remicade is that it can cause several severe side effects, such as causing cancers and increasing the risk of a person developing serious infections. Contrarily, CBD has few side effects, and most are minor to moderate in severity.
Numerous scientific studies show that CBD exerts anti-inflammatory effects in several conditions.
CBD reduced the presence of TNF, the same proinflammatory protein that Remicade targets.
Researchers also found that CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation relieved arthritic pain by desensitizing the TRPV1 receptors. TRPV1 receptors are known to modulate pain sensitivity and become oversensitive when inflammation is present.
At Katexco, Rothbard and Steinman plan to target the A7 receptor, a nicotine receptor found in the brain and gut, with CBD and a non-addictive form of nicotine.
By combining the two, the researchers hope they can use the anti-inflammatory properties of both compounds to treat inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s.
Steinman and Rothbard plan to produce their new treatment within the next two years.
Clinical trials of the CBD and non-addictive nicotine formula for inflammatory bowel disease are expected to begin next year, and the results should be available in 2020.
The researchers also believe their product will be safer, cheaper, and easier to access than existing medications.
“Katexco is confident that we will be successful since we are stimulating a naturally occurring neuro-immunological pathway that will allow our treatment to be safe, widely effective and significantly more cost-effective, compared with current therapies for inflammatory diseases,” said Steinman.
If they are indeed successful, Steinman and Rothbard will have kickstarted an entirely new class of effective and safe anti-inflammatory treatments with CBD.
In an interview with Business Insider, Steinman said, “We have a whole new frontier ahead of us that could lead to pharmaceuticals for a variety of clinical needs that aren’t currently being met.”
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