Albany Molecular Research (AMRI) has licensed tech from Florida biopharma Teewinot to produce and sell the first commercially available cannabichromene acid analytical standard.
The cannabichromene acid (or CBCA) analytical standard is created using Teewinot's own biosynthetic processes.
Its processes involve the expression of cannabinoid biosynthetic genes in microorganisms for the production of large quantities of cannabinoids.
Research on cannabinoids--which extract certain elements from marijuana--has ramped up in recent years as biopharma companies look to use the drug’s ingredients for therapeutic purposes.
One of these is Arena Pharmaceuticals ($ARNA), which in April released positive early data from its Phase I trial for the cannabinoid 2 receptor pain drug APD371.
APD371 works as an orally available agonist of the CB2 receptor PD371 and is designed to provide pain relief without the psychotropic effects typically seen with marijuana--although its link to marijuana is fairly low as it has much less activity on the CB1 receptor, the stimulation of which can cause many adverse effects and undesirable behaviors.
London’s GW Pharmaceuticals ($GWPH) is one of the bigger players when it comes cannabinoid CBD therapies, with its Sativex approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (and also undergoing trials for cancer pain) and its experimental Epidiolex, a liquid formulation of cannabidiol, in late-stage testing for epilepsy.
There is also a number of other companies that have used cannabinoid properties to make anti-nausea drugs for cancer patients, with others also on the market for specific areas of pain, such as neuropathic and chronic pain. Medical marijuana is also now approved in 24 U.S. states.
A number of companies are also looking to get in on the discovery and manufacturing of these types of meds, with Netherlands-based Echo Pharmaceuticals one of the more well known producing cannabinoid standards for R&D purposes, as AMRI now looks to get into this growing market.
"Interest in capturing the therapeutic value of cannabinoids is on the upswing for basic research as well as for pharmaceutical development," said William Marth, president and CEO of AMRI.
"As such, companies will need tools that help them ensure their development programs meet the rigorous requirements for drug development. AMRI is continually evaluating and developing technologies for practical production of new, or difficult to synthesize molecules to enhance efficiency and/or quality."
AMRI said in a statement that efforts to advance cannabinoid compounds into therapeutic development will, however, require “rigorous testing” for quality, safety and efficacy. “This unique analytical standard is one tool that can facilitate research, development, and quality control for pharmaceutical applications of cannabinoids,” the company said.
AMRI has enjoyed a solid year, signing a series of deals in recent months, and saw a 45% jump in revenue last year.
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