Can-Fite Enters into Strategic Agreement with Univo Pharmaceuticals to Develop Cannabinoid-Based Pharmaceuticals and Assays

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd., a biotechnology company with a pipeline of proprietary small molecule drugs that bind specifically to the A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR), addressing cancer, liver, and inflammatory diseases, announced today it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Univo Pharmaceuticals, a medical cannabis company, to identify and co-develop specific formulations of cannabis components for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory, autoimmune, and metabolic diseases.

It is widely recognized that the identification of specific receptors and pathways through which CBD operates is expected to greatly enhance the development of CBD-based pharmaceuticals. Can-Fite is uniquely positioned to contribute its deep pharmaceutical development expertise to the CBD market, based on findings published in peer reviewed scientific journals demonstrating that CBDs bind to the Gi protein-coupled A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR), which is over-expressed in pathological cells. Can-Fite is a global leader in the research and development of drugs that target A3AR.

There are two main components to the collaboration agreement:

Discovery, development, and commercialization of medical cannabis-based therapeutics: Can-Fite and Univo will jointly collaborate in the discovery of, and Can-Fite will have a first right to express interest to clinically develop, cannabis and cannabis components for the treatment of cancer, inflammatory, autoimmune, and metabolic diseases.

Development and commercialization of CBD screening assays: Can-Fite will develop a screening assay to identify therapeutically active cannabis components, and once developed, Univo will market the assay on a ‘fee for service’ basis to other pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

According to Adroit Market Research, the medical cannabis market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 29% to $56.7 billion by 2026 and according to Zion Market Research, the global market for cell-based assays is estimated to reach $16.2 billion by 2025.

In this collaboration, Univo will provide Can-Fite with cannabis and cannabis components, as well as full access to its laboratories for both research and manufacturing. Can-Fite has agreed to pay Univo a total of $500,000 through two installments and is issuing to Univo approximately 19.9 million of its ordinary shares through a private placement, representing approximately 16.6% of Can-Fite’s ordinary shares outstanding after giving effect to the issuance. The companies will initially share ownership of intellectual property developed in this collaboration. Revenues derived from the collaboration will generally be shared between Can-Fite and Univo on the basis of each party’s contribution. Golan Bitton, Univo’s CEO, is being appointed to the Can-Fite board in connection with the collaboration agreement.

Dr. Pnina Fishman, Can-Fite CEO, commented, “This collaboration provides Can-Fite with new and very exciting business opportunities for utilizing our technology platform and expertise.”

Golan Bitton, Univo’s CEO stated, “Can-Fite’s deep expertise in A3 adenosine receptors is a significant asset in our joint collaboration and we are pleased to have formed this alliance. Can-Fite has taken its drug candidates into Phase II and Phase III clinical studies and this makes Can-Fite highly suitable to take cannabis-based therapeutics into fully-fledged clinical development.”