The licensed process involves creating very small droplets of an active ingredient – in this case a cannabinoid-derivative – and encapsulating them, GB Sciences CSO Andrea L. Small-Howard told us.
“The specific technique we are using also involves the attachment of polyethylene glycol (PEG) molecules on their surface as a barrier to digestion; as well as methods for stabilizing, storing, and transporting the drug,” she added.
As part of the technology transfer process, GB Sciences staff were trained on cannabinoid-based nanoparticle manufacturing, quality control, and freeze-drying for product stability.
GB Sciences said it plans to continue development in the US.
“We are eager to begin manufacturing these licensed nanoparticles in the US; thus continuing the development and commercialization of this important therapeutic option,” said Small-Howard.
‘Slow and steady release’
The researchers who first developed these nanoparticles at the University of Seville intended to create an orally-administered, time-released cannabinoid formulation to avoid digestion of the active ingredients, target their absorption, prolong blood circulation, and provide a slow and steady release of active molecules, we were told.
“These researchers and their colleagues at the University of Cadiz have demonstrated that the nanoparticles are not digested in the gastrointestinal tract, but the intact nanoparticles do pass into the blood stream from the lower third of the small-intestine,” said Small-Howard.
“They then move throughout the peripheral blood stream and their contents are released over time,” she added.
According to the chief scientific officer, in a rat model of neuropathic pain, the active ingredients were released steadily over 11 days from a single oral dose.
Small-Howard said the product could be a ‘game-changer’ for patients who suffer from neuropathic pain.
“Because cannabinoids are lipid-based and highly labile, nanotechnology-based delivery methods are particularly useful in improving the bioavailability, stability, and consistency of dosing,” she said.
“Especially for treating chronic conditions like neuropathic pain where patients want to have continuous relief from fewer doses of their medicine.
According to Small-Howard, the technique has been optimised for small, lipid-based drugs.
“Therefore, the technique can be applied to other cannabinoids, terpenoids, and steroid-based hormones; or mixtures of these substances,” she told us.
“In fact, our collaborators at the University of Seville are working on creating nanoparticle versions of GB Sciences’ proprietary complex mixtures of cannabinoids and terpenes for chronic pain and arthritis,” she added.
GB Sciences is looking to commercialise these drugs internationally, but told us it would ‘happily entertain’ either development or distribution partners along the way.