CURE Pharmaceutical (OTCQB:CURR) is kicking off a first-ever clinical study to research cannabinoid compounds to treat leukemia and prostate cancer. Specifically, the company, along with its partner Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, will be testing to see if these cannabinoid molecules will attack tumorous cancer cells.
CURE Pharmaceutical is primarily a drug delivery company. It is headquartered in Oxnard, California, and is best known for its CureFilm, a thin oral film that helps medicine enter a patient's bloodstream more quickly. CURE announced that it has entered into a partnership with Technion Research and Development Foundation to research different cannabinoid compounds to treat various types of cancer, including prostate and leukemia.
"It's an area that hasn't received attention," said Rob Davidson, Chief Executive Officer of CURE. "There is strong anecdotal evidence, but we want to put some science into it," he said. Specifically, CURE would like to target tumor cells. The Israeli team, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Technion - Israel Institute of Technology will conduct the study, but CURE will identify the appropriate cannabinoid molecules to study. This news comes on the heels of CURE announcing earlier this month that it was going to enter into the pharmaceutical cannabis sector.
The idea is that the two teams will research and identify how varying cannabinoid compounds within cannabis strains can affect various cancer subtypes. According to the company's press release, CURE can take that information to predict how to match a cancer subtype with an effective cannabis extract in order to get the best treatment results. They are also looking at pairing the cannabis treatment with chemo. Cannabis is sometimes used by cancer patients for pain or nausea but not to treat the cancer itself. Technion's lab group has already discovered two new pathways that have been activated by cannabis extracts in cancer cells.
The American Cancer Society says, "While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease. More recently, scientists reported that THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD slow growth and/or cause death in certain types of cancer cells growing in lab dishes." The group supports the need for more scientific research on cannabis and cancer.
Davidson said that they should have some data points in the first six months. "First, we'll do an in-vitro study and see the effects on cancer cells," he said. "We can get into human trials pretty quickly in Israel." The strategy will be to develop new chemical entities out of this research and potentially effective therapeutics for multiple indications. CURE plans to patent these molecules and will be pursuing the proper channels with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Normally, the initiation of a study isn't considered newsworthy because it is the results of the study that are more significant. Yet, several doctors expressed their support of the study. Bonnie Goldstein, formerly Chief Resident at Los Angeles Children's hospital said, "I currently take care of many patients, both adults and children, that have life-threatening advanced cancers and so far, I have been unable to match cannabis treatment to the patient's specific cancer sub-type. Initial studies show that different cancers respond to the anti-neoplastic effects of different cannabinoids. This research will answer this question and will allow physicians like myself to tailor treatment for cancer patients."
CURE Pharmaceutical hasn't been a public company for very long. In November of 2016, the company engaged in a reverse take-over of Makkanoti Group, a Greek paper bag company and changed the company's symbol. CURE Pharmaceutical was originally incorporated in 2011 and is still a very early stage company. Revenues for the first quarter of 2017 were only $31,945, whereas expenses were $2.4 million. Total assets are only $2.6 million, so it will be critical for the company to either raise additional capital or quickly turn these plans into revenue producers.
CURE Pharmaceutical hit a year's high of $8.85 and is currently trading at approximately $8.00 a share in the OTC Market. The company has a market value of $186 million with 23 million outstanding shares. The short interest in the stock has dropped by 41% as of April.
If CURE gets the positive results it is hoping for and is able to capitalize on this data quickly, it will help the company get its cannabis business off the ground. However, study results can't be guaranteed, and like any biotech company, if the study doesn't generate the data it is hoping for, then it has spent over $600,000 on a test that didn't pan out the way it wanted. With short interest dropping, it seems other investors are willing to take a shot on this company.
Also, a good result on this study will be beneficial to all CBD makers in the market, and they are no doubt watching the results as well.
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