Work Showing Potential of EHP-101 in MS Earns Research Award

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by Jose Marques Lopes, PhD |

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Carmen Navarrete, PhD, has been granted a Scientific Innovation Award for her post-doctoral presentation suggesting that the multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment candidate EHP-101 is anti-inflammatory and may boost remyelination, Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals announced.

Navarrete, a senior scientist at Vivacell Biotechnology Espana, a company owned by Emerald Health Research, received the award at the 28th Annual International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) Symposium, held in Leiden, The Netherlands.

Her presentation, “Effect of Oral VCE-004.8, a Cannabidiol Quinol Derivative, on Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis, demonstrated that, in a mouse model of MS, EHP-101 has anti-inflammatory activity and could increase remyelination — the production of the protective myelin cover wrapped around neurons — a key treatment goal in MS.

“We are very proud of Dr. Navarrete’s receipt of this prestigious award for her work on EHP-101,” Jim DeMesa, MD, Emerald’s CEO, said in a press release.

ICRS is a prestigious global organization focused on research on cannabis and cannabinoids, while also acting as a source for impartial information. The award recognizes extraordinary scientific achievements from all fields of cannabinoid research.

“The recognition of this distinguished award underscores the vision and dedication of the teams behind EHP-101, and further strengthens our pursuit to help patients with these serious, incurable diseases,” DeMesa added.

EHP-101 (previously known as VCE-004.8) is Emerald’s lead product candidate. It is a small molecule based on a new, synthetic cannabidiol (CBD). According to the company, it was designed to have increased therapeutic effectiveness over other CBD products, as it has superior agonist (activating) anti-inflammatory activity via the cannabinoid receptors CB2 and PPAR-gamma. It does so while also playing a role in the HIF signaling pathway, which responds to variations in the amount of oxygen and is involved in remyelination.

Emerald plans to start a Phase 1 clinical trial of orally administered EHP-101 later this year.

Prior research in mice indicated that, besides promoting remyelination, EHP-101 may prevent nerve cell damage, and lower neuroinflammation and the reactivity of immune cells of the brain and spinal cord.

EHP-101 also has shown ability to prevent skin and lung fibrosis (scarring) in a mouse model of scleroderma.

Besides EHP-101, Emerald is developing EHP-102, a derivative of cannabigerol — also a natural cannabinoid — for Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.

“We believe that EHP-101’s demonstrated potential as a disease-modifying treatment for multiple sclerosis and scleroderma showcases the beginnings of what our industry can achieve,” DeMesa said.

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