Australia-based PhytoTech Medical has signed an exclusive licensing and collaboration agreement with Yissum, the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to develop, manufacture and market a novel delivery system to enhance the bioavailability of cannabidiol (CBD) and/or THC, the active ingredients in cannabis, for the treatment of a variety of medical indications.

The novel formulations are based on technologies developed by professors Abraham Domb and Amnon Hoffman from the Institute of Drug Research at the university’s School of Pharmacy.

Cannabis-based medications are currently in clinical use worldwide. The most known formulation is a sublingual spray delivering CBD and THC. PhytoTech plans to develop an improved oral capsule and transbuccal (through the cheek) delivery system consisting of a flexible adhesive patch that will release the active ingredients of cannabis in a controlled manner.

“We believe that Yissum’s novel transbuccal delivery method is particularly appropriate for the delivery of these agents, and helps avoid problems such as lack of standardization of drug concentration, and health risks stemming from more traditional ways of absorbing cannabis, such as smoking,” said PhytoTech Managing Director Boaz Wachtel. This month, PhytoTech became the first medical marijuana company on the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with PhytoTech in developing the inventions of professors Domb and Hoffman for the purpose of delivering the active components in cannabis,” said Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum.

“Medical cannabis is increasingly being used for a variety of indications, such as reducing nausea during chemotherapy and relieving pain and muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients. Development of state-of-the art delivery systems for the active ingredients will undoubtedly pave the way for a wider variety of clinical indications for these types of drugs,” Michlin added.

Products based on Hebrew University technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum currently generate $2 billion in annual sales. Its business partners include global companies such as Syngenta, Monsanto, Roche, Novartis, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Intel and Teva.

Hebrew University pharmacologist and Israel Prize winner Prof. Raphael Mechoulam pioneered medical cannabis research in the 1960s, paving the way for Israelis to take a leading role in this field worldwide. In recent months, several significant advances have been announced, and there are more to follow at the first Canna Tech Israel event on February 5.

Listen to ISRAEL21c’s TLV1 radio show on the future of medical marijuana.