InMed Pharmaceuticals is expanding its product line by initiating studies on a potential treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The clinical stage company specializes in the development of therapeutic options based on cannabis, and will launch a new program designed to discover and assess cannabinoid compounds able to treat COPD.
InMed announced that its new program focused on finding cannabis-based treatments for COPD has already initiated its first drug discovery efforts and preclinical tests in partnership with investigators from the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
“We’re excited to explore avenues to further expand InMed’s pipeline with the addition of new program targeting COPD, the third leading cause of death in the United States,” said InMed’s president and CEO Craig Schneider. COPD is a chronic pulmonary disease that affects more than 50 million people worldwide and progressively degrades the ability to breathe, increasing mucus production, cough and chest tightness.
“Similar to our ongoing program in orofacial pain, we are leveraging our proprietary intelligent drug design platform technology to identify promising therapeutic candidates. In addition to advancing our current product candidates, expansion into respiratory disease marks our fourth major disease focus, highlighting our commitment to building a leading pipeline of cannabinoid-based therapies,” added Schneider.
Previous research has suggested the effectiveness of cannabinoid compounds in improving COPD symptoms, since the most significant active ingredient in cannabis, THC, has the ability to provoke short-term bronchodilation. In addition, cannabinoids may also disable the proliferation and activation of T-cells and have anti-inflammatory proprieties.
“Current treatments for COPD are complex and ineffective and there is currently no cure available. It is well known that cannabinoids exhibit bronchodilatory, immunosuppressive, and anti-inflammatory properties and thus cannabinoid-based therapy may offer safer and more effective treatment options for COPD,” explained the chief scientific officer at the company, Sazzad Hossain.
The initial research is being conducted by InMed investigator Dmitri Pechkovsky, who is working in collaboration with Pascal Bernatchez in his lab at the University of British Columbia. With a PhD in Immunology and Allergy from Minsk State Medical Institute in Belarus and post-doctoral training from the Research Center Borstel-Leibniz Center for Medicine and Biosciences (FZB), Luebeck University, and University of Freiburg in Germany, Pechkovsky has proven experience in studying pulmonary diseases, such as COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and asthma.