The Office of Technology Management at LSU Health New Orleans has finalized a deal with CB BioSciences, Inc., a startup drug development company to build a platform around the intellectual property portfolio of Chu Chen, PhD, LSU Health New Orleans Professor of Neuroscience. Cannabinoids have potent antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties and have been used for thousands of years to treat multiple sclerosis, cancer, seizure disorders, inflammatory, neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions. However, one of the cannabinoids with the most therapeutic potential, Δ9-THC, can also trigger undesirable adverse effects including memory loss, disorientation, and learning difficulties. Until now, there has been no known way to prevent the adverse effects of Δ9-THC except to avoid it.
Dr. Chen's latest research has focused on identifying the mechanisms responsible for the unwanted adverse effects associated with Δ9-THC. He recently discovered that the inhibition of COX-2 alleviates the undesired adverse effects of Δ9-THC while retaining its beneficial therapeutic effects.
Now Dr. Chen is exploring whether a cocktail of Δ9-THC and a COX-2 inhibitor can delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer's Disease and perhaps even treat those patients already suffering from the disease. Dr. Chen believes other neurodegenerative diseases including TBI, Parkinson's disease, as well as PTSD, may also benefit from this cocktail therapy.
The LSU Health New Orleans Office of Technology Management licensed Dr. Chen's technology to CB BioSciences. As part of the license agreement, CB BioSciences will be making an initial investment of $428,000 to support ongoing research surrounding Dr. Chen's discovery. In addition to the sponsored research dollars and industry-standard financial terms in the license agreement, LSU Health New Orleans will also hold an equity stake in CB BioSciences. The Utah-based company is also in the process of opening an office in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center on Canal Street.
Dr. Chen's work may have an impact on other conditions as well. For example, the active ingredient of the anti-nausea drug, Marinol® (dronabinol), is synthetic Δ9-THC. When other drugs fail to work, it is prescribed to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The use of Marinol® and similar drugs may have been limited due to the adverse effects. Dr. Chen's discovery may make it possible for Marinol® and related drugs to become a preferred treatment for chemotherapy patients.
"We're excited to begin this new, mutually beneficial relationship with CB BioSciences and hope that it will more quickly advance Dr. Chen's research to bring relief to patients dealing with devastating diseases," notes Patrick Reed, Director of the LSU Health New Orleans Office of Technology Management.
Ed Cowle, CEO of CB BioSciences, commented that, "Our company looks forward to collaborating with Dr. Chen and LSU Health New Orleans for many years to come as we work towards commercializing these exciting discoveries."