Canada’s role in the emerging cannabinoid revolution just took another step forward this week—further highlighting that the country will be at the forefront of development for the foreseeable future.
The makers of a new form of cannabinoid prodrugs called “cannabosides,” have officially announced they’re launching a Canadian subsidiary focused on cannabinoid genetics research and development.
Vitality Biopharma, Inc. (OTC: VBIO) announced the formation of a wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary, Vitality Genetics, Ltd., which will focus on and enable the performance of a wide variety of cannabinoid R&D programs.
The company’s current flagship property is its proprietary cannabosides prodrugs, which facilitate the unlocking of the full potential of cannabinoids for the treatment of serious neurological and inflammatory disorders—which among Vitality’s earliest profiles includes tackling gut disorders such as Crohn’s disease.
Currently dominated by TNF-alpha inhibitor treatments, the Crohn’s disease market is quite large, representing a $10 billion annual market for FDA-approved treatments.
“We are excited to form Vitality Genetics, and to take these important first steps towards ensuring access across North America to the best cannabinoid products available today in a federally-compliant manner,” said Robert Brooke, the Company’s CEO. “As we soon begin clinical trials in the U.S., this step also ensures that we have reliable access to these products for all internal Vitality programs and collaborations.”
The drugs’ developers had recently announced the filing of their cannabosides intellectual property in all major international pharmaceutical markets, through a submission with the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)—unifying the filing process for 151 countries.
By initiating the first plans for limited operations in Canada, Vitality stands to benefit from Health Canada regulations regarding medical cannabis, and the federally mandated commitment to nationwide approval for adult use of cannabis.
TRUE NORTH R&D
The company also plans to utilize the new subsidiary to conduct research relevant to Vitality’s ongoing therapeutics development programs in collaboration with leading Canadian researchers and other firms.
Included in the goals of the upcoming work will be studies of the bioavailability of cannabinoid products, the role of the gut microbiome, and a diverse array of cannabinoid research projects at the intersection of plant, microbial, and human health.
Vitality has already established itself as an active drug developer, with its latest round of international filings cover “composition of matter” patent claims. These claims covered the company’s THC-based prodrugs, including their current flagship candidate VBX-100, a gut-targeted cannabinoid pharmaceutical.
“It’s exciting to initiate patent prosecution in key pharmaceutical markets, where we’re seeking broad patent coverage for VBX-100 and our cannabosides drug portfolio,” said Dr. Brandon Zipp, Director of R&D, and Scientific Co-founder of Vitality Biopharma in the company’s previous press release.
Independent researchers around the world are using cannabinoid products to treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including opiate reduction, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, autism, and more.
However, in the United States researchers continue to run up against tremendous difficulty at major medical universities to access and study the therapeutic effects of the some of the potentially most important medical cannabis strains and products. Potential for federal crackdowns against cannabis-related research and development in the U.S. continues to scare away major research institutions, which drives the need for companies like Vitality who are able to conduct and facilitate research in full compliance with all federal regulations in both the U.S. and Canada.
VITALITY’S ACHIEVEMENTS TO-DATE
VBX-100 and the company’s cannaboside prodrug technology enable the selective delivery of large concentrations of cannabinoids to the intestinal tract with limited entry into the bloodstream or brain—rendering the elimination of all drug psycho-activity or intoxication.
Vitality Biopharma has developed a novel prodrug technology, which enables targeted delivery not only of the non-intoxicating cannabinoid known as CBD, but also with THC, which is the principal compound that is psychoactive within cannabis.
Through the company’s cannaboside technology they can selectively deliver THC and other cannabinoids to the colon, the prodrugs are restricted to that region, providing local relief of pain and inflammation and avoiding systemic delivery.
THE PREVIOUS BIG DISCOVERY
Originally, Vitality was once developing a bioprocessing technique to improve the taste stevia—a natural, high-potency, zero-calorie sweetener being increasingly used in consumer foods and beverages.
The company’s researchers were targeting how to process the stevia plant, through a process known as enzymatic glycosylation that can make stevia sweeteners taste better.
The big discovery came in late 2015, when Vitality found that the enzyme derived from the Stevia plant ended up being far more “promiscuous” than originally thought—The “a-ha!” moment came when they realized they could not only modify or glycosylate stevia products, but they could also modify cannabinoids, and many other compounds.
This gave Vitality a rare advantage within the cannabinoid scene, in that they could now exploit a proprietary expertise in bio-synthetic production of these new compounds—Now known as their cannabosides intellectual property (IP).
Obtaining significant IP protection for cannabinoids without this type of innovation is extremely difficult—especially because THC and CBD are natural products, of which no company can claim a patent on what nature has already provided.
By modifying stevia, and thus developing a novel prodrug, Vitality positioned itself to achieve what many other companies could not. Now with the new R&D unit in Canada, and a freedom to develop more, a gateway to new discoveries is being opened for the firm.
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