Bod Science is set to trial its drug-delivery technology on non-cannabis treatments for the first time as it aims to increase the benefits and lessen the side effects of psychiatric drugs.
The company has teamed up with the Centre for Innovative Therapeutics (C-FIT) at London’s King’s College to explore the use of its Aqua Phase technology on medications which treat psychiatric and neurological disorders.
While such drugs are efficacious, the side effects can be severe, with many patients either not prescribed them or taking them for only short periods of time.
Through Bod’s Aqua Phase technology, it is thought the medication will become more soluble, leading to greater bioavailability and reduced side effects.
The development with C-FIT comes a week after Bod released data which suggested a study using ultraviolet analysis demonstrated improved solubility of Aqua Phase CBD. Pharmacokinetic studies to test the bioavailability of the technology are currently underway.
Bod Science chief executive Jo Patterson said the collaboration with C-FIT further demonstrates the potential of Aqua Phase beyond cannabis.
“While Aqua Phase has enormous application for use in cannabinoids, this is the first foray into other medicines that have similar properties to cannabis compounds,” she said.
“CNS [Central Nervous System] medications are lipophilic and have enormous side effects. Often, because these side effects are so problematic, you don’t get physicians prescribing them, or patients using them, even though they work.
“Aqua Phase allows us to take lipophilic compounds and make them more bioavailable and more soluble. It is able to address problems not only in the cannabis industry, but with other lipophilic drugs.”
Clozapine, which treats schizophrenia, is among the first medications likely to undergo trials with Aqua Phase, with the drug “not dissimilar in structure” to CBD, chief technology officer Craig Weller said.
Despite diversifying into other treatment areas, he said cannabis would remain at the forefront of the firm’s plans.
“We think there is an enormous role that Aqua Phase can play within the development of cannabis medicines. It can really change the whole paradigm of cannabis delivery,” he said. “By taking less of the active ingredient, it will reduce the cost for patients.
“We believe it will also unlock treatment indications that were not commercially viable before because patients needed a larger dose to have the therapeutic outcome. With Aqua Phase we should be able to lower the dose significantly.”
Patterson said moving beyond cannabis would provide the company with alternative revenue streams, a key strategic rationale behind the Aqua Phase acquisition last year.
“It gives us great optionality in terms of revenue growth and commercial opportunity with large pharmaceutical partners,” she said. “What we find exciting, and which plays to the value of Aqua Phase, is that it’s agnostic in terms of application.
“We’ll be exploring opportunities outside of cannabis and the collaboration with King’s College is our first example of that.”
C-FIT professor Mitul Mehta said: “Psychiatric drug development has not delivered for patients, so we need to look at alternative approaches as well.
“Improving the effectiveness and side-effect profile of existing medicines in psychiatry is an exciting approach and we are pleased to work in close collaboration with Bod Science to bring improved medicines to specific patient groups.”