Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies Holdings plc, which specialises in developing cannabis-derived medicines with pain-relieving properties, has successfully administered the first-in-human dose of its lead pharmaceutical drug compound, OCT461201, in its phase 1 clinical trial. The company holds a portfolio of four drug candidates intended for use as licensed pain medications.
The drug is a selective cannabinoid receptor type 2 agonist with the potential to treat chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and irritable bowel syndrome.
The UK trial, conducted by Simbec Research Limited, part of Simbec-Orion Group Ltd., is progressing with healthy volunteers, OCTP said in a statement. Using a single ascending dose protocol, the primary objective is to demonstrate OCT461201’s safety and tolerability, while providing information on its pharmacokinetic profile, to confirm its value as a potential drug.
Results from the trial, funded entirely by OCTP’s existing resources, are expected in the third quarter of 2023, the statement added.
“I am pleased to announce the first dose of OCT461201 has been administered to a healthy volunteer,” said Clarissa Sowemimo-Coker, Chief Executive Officer of OCTP. “This is a significant milestone for OCTP, representing the culmination of years of hard work and signaling the beginning of a new journey.”
Meanwhile, OCTP appointed Dr. William Paul Farquhar-Smith, a globally recognised expert in CIPN, as an external adviser to the company.
Dr Farquhar-Smith is a consultant in pain medicine and anaesthetics at The Royal Marsden Foundation NHS Trust. He leads the only dedicated CIPN clinic in the UK and holds fellowships from the Faculty of Pain of the Royal College of Anaesthetics and the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine. His expertise revolves around the management of pain in cancer patients, anaesthesia, and pain education, the company said.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr Farquhar-Smith as an adviser to OCTP,” Sowemimo-Coker added. “His clinical expertise and deep knowledge of CIPN will be of exceptional value to us as we move forward with our clinical trials for OCT461201, which we hope will prove to be a first-in-class treatment.”
According to the company, approximately 60 per cent of individuals undergoing chemotherapy experience CIPN after three months, leading to patients reducing or discontinuing treatment. “With the global market for CIPN projected to reach $2.37 billion by 2027, there is evident potential to address this significant market opportunity while enhancing people’s lives.”
The global CIPN market is currently valued at $1.61 billion, with a projected value of $2.37 billion by 2027, offering a substantial market opportunity for OCTP. In 2020, the U.S. reported around 17 million cases of IBS, while the UK recorded nearly 6 million cases.
The UK is currently facing medicine shortage, and last week, several MPs raised concerns about medicine supply in Parliament.