Cannabotech is involved in the development of a botanical drug based on an extract of the Cyathus striatus fungus and a cannabinoid extract from the cannabis plant. The company said in experiments conducted on a cell model, the fungus extract eliminated 100% of pancreatic cancer cells relatively selectively and without damaging normal cells.
The fungus has been the subject of research to test its anti-cancer efficacy in Professor Fuad Fares' laboratory at the University of Haifa for about eight years. It was selected as the preferred candidate for the development of a drug for pancreatic and colon cancer after showing better anti-cancer results than a variety of other fungi tested. A few months ago, Cannabotech received global and exclusive rights of use for patents created in Fares' research and began leading an accelerated process of developing a botanical drug as defined by the FDA.
The first milestone in the botanical drug development process was defined as the adaptation of fungal growth and extraction methods to the FDA protocol for botanical drug development, which the company expects to be significantly cheaper and shorter than the development process of a standard ethical drug. In addition, the anti-cancer activity of the new fungal extract and the cannabinoid composition developed by Cannabotech on pancreatic cancer were examined.
The company said that in a cell model trial, the adapted extract showed 5 times higher anti-cancer efficacy than the original extract while causing 100% mortality of pancreatic cancer cells. In the active concentration on pancreatic cancer cells, no damage to the healthy cells was observed. The cannabinoid extract resulted in an 80% mortality of pancreatic cancer cells.
Cannabotech expects to complete the feasibility study phase within 12 months, by mid-2023, at the end of which it will work to create a development collaboration with a large pharma company vis-à-vis the FDA. As the next milestone in the development process, the company plans to test both the active mechanism of killing cancer cells by extracts and the combined anti-cancer efficacy of the fungus and cannabinoids together, in cells and animals.
The company is accompanied in the development process by Dr. Yitzhak Angel, a pharmacologist specialized in drug development, and Dr. Alex Weisman, an expert in organic chemistry and API manufacturing, who headed the research and development department of the API division at PERRIGO.