Medical Marijuana, Inc. subsidiary Kannalife™ Sciences holds the first two licenses awarded to develop and commercialize drug treatments under the U.S. government’s only cannabinoid patent. Kannalife™ Sciences is a phyto-medical company specializing in the research and development of cannabinoid based pharmaceuticals. With nearly a dozen leading researchers on their Scientific Advisory Board and a leadership team that features decades of experience in the pharmaceutical space, including the development of orphan drugs, Kannalife™ is in a unique position to capitalize on these licenses.
In 1999, a group of researchers, including Nobel Laureate Julius Axelrod, filed a patent application on behalf of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) declaring that cannabis has medicinal value. Patent 6,630,507, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”, was awarded 4 years later in 2003 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The ‘507 patent covers the use of cannabinoids for the development of treatments for oxidative associated and neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and HIV related dementia. Although the patent specifically mentions cannabidiol (CBD) by name for its low toxicity and beneficial effects on the human endocannabinoid system, the patent covers all cannabinoids, natural and synthetic, that can be applied as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.
The ‘507 patent covers the use of cannabinoids for the development of treatments for oxidative associated and neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and HIV related dementia
In 2012, nearly a decade after being filed for the NIH, the ‘507 patent was licensed exclusively to Kannalife™ Sciences to be the first to develop cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for the treatment of two neurological diseases.
Kannalife™ Sciences will use this patent to develop a treatment for Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE), a neurological disease caused by damage to the liver from the abuse of alcohol and prescription pills. Although HE is considered a rare disease with fewer than 200,000 yearly cases, the cost to treat it in the U.S. alone is estimated up to $7 billion per year.
Kannalife™ Sciences developed a synthetic CBD-like molecule called KLS-13019. This synthetic cannabinoid is 50 times more potent and 400 times less toxic than natural CBD.
HE presents a strategic pharmaceutical target for Kannalife™ Sciences. Because it is a rare disease that can be life threatening, any pharmaceuticals developed for its treatment can apply for orphan drug status, allowing it to bypass steps in the clinical trial and drug approval processes. Orphan drug status also allows for market exclusivity, preventing similar competitive products from being marketed for seven years in the U.S. and 10-12 years in the EU.
Kannalife™ also sees promise using cannabinoid treatments for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease that results from repeated trauma to the head that is often diagnosed in athletes, specifically retired NFL players.
Using this patent, Kannalife™ Sciences developed a synthetic CBD-like molecule called KLS-13019. This synthetic cannabinoid is 50 times more potent and 400 times less toxic than natural CBD, making it viable as a potential pharmaceutical treatment for HE and CTE.
As the first licensee of the ‘507 patent, Kannalife™ Sciences and Medical Marijuana, Inc. have a unique opportunity to develop much needed treatments for neurodegenerative and inflammation-based diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, HE, and CTE. Neurodegenerative diseases are generally large markets, with some estimates calculating that the rate of Alzheimer’s in this country is set to jump up to 16 million by 2050 as Baby Boomers continue to age, suggesting a new case will be diagnosed every 33 seconds. These conditions all share the unique characteristic that their is no universal treatment. CBD may prove to be the exception.