The human body naturally produces cannabinoids – endocannabinoids such as anandamide (“ANA”) – as part of a physiologic system that maintains human health by reducing inflammation and promoting homeostasis. So named after the plant that led to its discovery, the endocannabinoid system (“ECS”) however only produces two known cannabinoid compounds, while over 140 variants can be found in the cannabis plant, most in trace amounts.
Of the latter group of cannabinoids, cannabidiol (“CBD”) and tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) are the most common. Researchers have in fact studied both of them for decades, with studies showing that THC is the primary active ingredient in cannabis, followed by CBD.
“Although CBD and THC make up most of the content in cannabis plants, they are not the only compounds that matter. The plants also have many rare cannabinoids with potential health and manufacturing uses that can now be studied,” a 2021 Forbes article reads.
Studies now suggest that these “rare cannabinoids” could offer more potent medical benefits than CBD and without the psychoactive attribute of THC, representing a huge market. However, unlike the abundant THC and CBD products already covering the marketplace, rare cannabinoids are extremely difficult to extract from the cannabis plant and have therefore not been looked at more closely to ascertain their medical benefits.
In understanding the immense potential of rare cannabinoids, InMed Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage company developing a pipeline of cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical drug candidates as well as manufacturing and delivering high-quality rare cannabinoids for a variety of uses, sees these rare cannabinoids as having applications as wide as CBD and THC. This is a hot topic in the industry. However, the industry-wide problem has always been to obtain the production scales necessary for cost-effective commercialization of such compounds, while also ensuring the purity and consistency that can be difficult at even low volumes.
The answer is to develop and apply successful large-scale bio-synthesis capabilities, technologies that are complex and not readily available for these rare compounds.
In October, the company celebrated a huge milestone that cemented its status as a leader in this rapidly developing field. It completed the acquisition of Bay Medica, a U.S.-based private company that specializes in the development of large-scale manufacturing and commercialization of rare cannabinoids. The company has amassed an unmatched talent pool of large-scale synthetic production expertise from the industry that can be applied to rare cannabinoids.
The acquisition complements InMed’s efforts within the pharmaceutical industry by adding BayMedica’s synthetic biology and chemical synthesis capabilities and expertise, in what would provide InMed with complete rare cannabinoid manufacturing flexibility to select the most appropriate, cost-effective method based on the target cannabinoid and applicable quality specifications for the desired industry.
“BayMedica has been deploying different manufacturing techniques such as chemical synthesis, yeast biosynthesis, and InMed has not only bacterial biosynthesis but also a new approach called enzymatic biotransformation – our IntegraSyn(TM) system,” stated InMed CEO Eric A. Adams during the 2022 Edison Open House Global Healthcare Conference held on January 25.
“I think we are the only company out there that can offer a full slate of these different manufacturing technologies. That’s important because no one technology is best for the whole spectrum of different cannabinoids. So, we are now in a unique position to pick and choose whatever the lowest cost manufacturing technology is for any one of these different cannabinoids,” added Adams.
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