Developing a soluble gel to deliver cannabinoids directly to the brain via the nasal cavity is the focus of a second research and option agreement between a Canadian health and wellness company and The University of Queensland’s (UQ) main commercialisation company UniQuest.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said PreveCeutical Medical Inc. (PMI) was interested in accessing UQ’s intellectual property and expertise to develop soluble gels (sol-gels) to deliver cannabinoids to the central nervous system (CNS).

The announcement comes less than a week after an agreement was signed between the two parties to stabilise peptides isolated from scorpion venom for use in immune-boosting applications.

“Sol-gels potentially provide a safer, more reliable platform to deliver drugs, such as cannabinoids, directly to the CNS, avoiding unwanted rapid metabolism, thus providing clinical benefit from direct nose-to-brain delivery,” Dr Moss said.

The UQ researcher behind the technology, Dr Harendra (Harry) Parekh of UQ’s School of Pharmacy, will work collaboratively with PMI on the research program which involves analysing plant-derived cannabinoids and formulating them into sol-gels for further testing.

Dr Parekh said sol-gels were liquid when sprayed into the nose and formed gels when warmed in the nasal cavity.

“This feature can potentially be exploited to deliver drugs through the nasal mucosa,” he said. “The longer-term goal is to develop sol-gels as safe, reliable delivery systems for cannabinoid extracts across a range of disease indications.”

PMI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Van Deventer said increasing evidence of the clinical benefits associated with cannabinoids and the recent legalisation of ‘medical marijuana’ across a number of jurisdictions were the drivers for the collaboration.

“Working with UniQuest and UQ will provide the company with unique opportunities to develop new health and wellness products,” he said.

“Nasal delivery of cannabinoids could potentially provide a safer and more reliable delivery platform with clinical benefits for pain, inflammation, seizures, and mental illness.”

The agreement provides PMI with an option to negotiate a license to use UniQuest’s sol-gel technology for the commercialisation of cannabinoid-based products.

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