Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Pascal Biosciences Inc., a drug discovery and development company, is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle to develop a cannabinoid-based product for the treatment of glioblastoma multiform and brain metastases. The program, developed in the lab of renowned cannabis researcher Dr. Nephi Stella, founder and co-director of the UW Center for Cannabis Research, includes a lead therapeutic, ST-403. Pascal plans to begin human clinical studies of ST-403 in 2019.
“I believe the ST-403 program has great potential to help patients diagnosed with glioblastoma, brain metastases and other devastating cancers,” said Dr. Stella. “I’m excited to have Pascal advancing this promising program and, furthermore, I am honoured to help with the future development of Pascal’s broad immune-oncology program, as I believe cannabinoid-based compounds have great potential when combined with checkpoint inhibitors.”
Dr. Stella began developing ST compounds based on scientific reports that cannabis-derived compounds may have benefit for glioblastoma, and he collaborated with Associate Professor Dr. Philippe Diaz of the University of Montana (UM) Department of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences. CoMotion, UW’s collaborative innovation hub, supported the work through two CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund grants and letters of support for a variety of other funding. CoMotion and joint owner (University of Montana), worked together in order to secure exclusive rights to license the compound to the company.
ST compounds utilize a unique mechanism of action to kill cancer cells that may prove synergistic when used in combination with chemotherapeutics. In a preclinical model of glioblastoma, mice are treated with radiation and temozolomide, which is the standard of care for human patients; ST compounds synergize with these treatments to reduce tumour size and extend life. These compounds also demonstrated a favourable safety profile. These results support Pascal’s plans to begin clinical trials with ST-403 in 2019.
“ST-403 is a very promising therapeutic candidate that is an ideal fit with our cannabinoid immune activation program that we announced in February,” said Dr. Patrick Gray, CEO of Pascal. “Both programs have great potential in treating cancer, and we are fortunate to have access to and support from Dr. Stella to help facilitate the advancement of this great science into meaningful therapeutics for cancer.”
Pascal’s exclusive license agreement with the UW covers the ST-403 program, all related compounds, and a strong patent portfolio. If ST-403 has demonstrated benefit for glioblastoma patients, its commercial potential is significant: Temozolomide is now off patent protection, but previously had sales over $1B per year.