CannPal Animal Therapeutics (ASX: CP1) is looking to develop and broaden its research pipeline after announcing that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Melbourne.
The deal could pave the way for the animal health company to manufacture cannabidiol-based drugs that combat epilepsy in dogs, and thereby create an entirely new range of medicines for pets.
As a company, CannPal is a “pharmaceutical-focused animal health company” researching the benefits of medical cannabis for companion animals. Its prime goal is to research and develop medicines derived from cannabinoids to provide veterinarians with clinically validated and standardised therapeutics to treat animals in a safe and ethical way.
Earlier this month, CannPal received ethics approval to advance its clinical development plans for CPAT-01, a “cannabis-derived pain control for companion animals” such as cats and dogs. CPAT-01 is currently the company’s lead drug candidate and will now move to phase 1B after completing a phase 1A of its Pharmacokinetic and Safety study.
So far, CannPal’s drug candidate has been established as well-tolerated, with no adverse events reported and significant levels of absorption achieved. The ethics approval is for Phase 1B of this study, which will involve 48 dogs and is set to commence later this month. This is in addition to CannPal’s work with Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO.
If its upcoming research goes well, CannPal could prove the efficacy of cannabidiol and its potential for providing medical treatment options for vets.
Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound derived from cannabis with a number of reported health benefits which include anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-seizure properties. Its wide-ranging benefits have been identified for both humans and animals with over a dozen ASX-listed companies now in the running to take advantage of ongoing medical cannabis legalisation around the world, including Australia.
Growing tide of support for medical cannabis
Medical cannabis and its inherent compounds such as CBD and THC have been proven to show initial signs of efficacy for various ailments including epilepsy. In June this year, America’s first cannabis-based drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from cannabis. It was also the first time the FDA has approved a drug specifically for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome and potentially setting a precedent for future drug development.
Under the terms of MoU, CannPal and the University will work on terms to establish a cooperative relationship in the field of veterinary science to complete a pilot study to determine the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) treatment for epilepsy in dogs next year.
The MoU with the University hopes to build on CannPal’s strong research pipeline which is being led by Dr Margaret Curtis, an alumnus of global animal health company Elanco.
“This MOU with the University of Melbourne is the latest in a long line of strategic agreements CannPal has entered, to establish the Company as a global leader in cannabinoid-derived therapeutics for companion animals. Its further validation of the high-quality research we are undertaking and we look forward to working with the University on this project,” said Layton Mills, founder and managing director of CannPal.