June 27th, 2016, Vancouver, B.C. – Veritas Pharma Inc. (“VRT” or the “Company”) (CSE:VRT) (OTC:VRTHF) (Frankfurt:2VP) is pleased to announce a corporate update.
During the first two quarters of 2016, Veritas Pharma has managed to reach significant milestones in achieving its goals. These milestones include formation of a uniquely qualified Board of Directors, completion of Private Placement, as well as initiating the important research and progressing towards identifying potentially new therapeutic strains of cannabis.
On April 19th, 2016, Veritas Pharma’s Board of Directors was strengthened by the appointment of Dr. Donald R. Carlow. He was the former president and CEO of the British Columbia Cancer Agency as well as principal administrator of various other cancer organizations in Canada. Dr. Carlow provides substantial experience and could deliver clinical insight into development of Veritas’ new strains for treatment of cancer pain and chemotherapy induced emesis. His appointment was an addition to an already versatile Board with significant experience in finance, pharmacology, and agriculture.
Veritas Pharma, through two tranches of non-brokered private placement, accumulated aggregate gross proceeds of $1,116,000. The Company is investing these funds in Cannevert Therapeutics Ltd., a Vancouver, BC company made up of academics at The University of British Columbia. Their goal is to discover new Cannabis strains for specific disease conditions. Cannevert is also attempting to match much of this money with the help of academic-industry grants as well as scientific tax credits.
On May 3rd Veritas announced that Cannevert Therapeutics received a Health Canada exemption to legally purchase cannabis from a designated supplier for research purposes. This was a significant event for Cannevert in that it could now fully conduct chemical and pharmacological screening assays to determine the therapeutic potential of a variety of cannabis cultivars. Concurrent with R&D efforts, Veritas Pharma in conjunction with Cannevert Therapeutics are attempting to protect potential candidate strains through the filing of patent applications and acquiring plant breeder’s rights. Veritas CEO Lui Franciosi commented, “We are extremely excited now to see that, with Health Canada exemption and arrival of initial group of cannabis strains, our work has begun. We believe Veritas’ progress is well within our initial set timeline.”
Once the pharmacological tests are completed, the next step is to take the cannabis strains with the best therapeutic potential and proceed to human clinical trials. This step would firmly establish the clinical utility of each cultivar compared to standard medical treatment. Success of these clinical trials will provide doctors and patients with scientific evidence to recommend and use Veritas proprietary medical marijuana strains with confidence.
Medical cannabis industry is one of the most exciting segments of pharmaceutical industry. Bank of America estimated this industry within US to stands at $2.9 billion, and projected to grow between $10.8 to $35 billion in five years.1
This projected growth is due to several driving factors. Increasing positive publicity as well as continued legalization trends nationally and at individual state levels within US. For example, the newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised complete legalization of cannabis for recreational use as part of his election platform. Crucially, one of the main drivers has simply been the emerging research highlighting the medical benefits of cannabis. The emerging medicinal versatility of cannabis is quiet vast, ranging from pain management to epilepsy.
“It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. We have been terribly and systematically misled for over nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”2
Dr. Sanja Gupda, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent and Neurosurgeon
The two approaches in unlocking the medical benefits of cannabis thus far have been the use of the traditional “big pharma” approach in which the cannabis is broken down to its individual constituents, i.e., molecules and then each tested separately for their safety and effectiveness in various patient populations; or alternatively, the ‘holistic’ approach in which the medical marijuana growers simply prescribe the whole plant for specific ailments without any scientific evidence to based their claims of clinical utility.
Veritas Pharma’s Approach
Veritas Pharma uses elements of both approaches noted above. It is amongst the first in Canada to scientifically investigate the claims made about the therapeutic benefits of the whole cannabis plant. Veritas’ mission is to discover and develop new proprietary strains for specific disease conditions and to provide patients and physicians with the necessary scientific evidence to use medical marijuana with confidence.
Veritas has developed a three-pronged approach to research and development:
First, we aim to chemically profile different marijuana cultivars.
- Subsequently, those same cultivars will pharmacologically be profiled in the search for disease-specific strains.
- Finally, we aim to perform clinical trials to establish the clinical utility of each cultivar administrated as a dried leaf or an oil extract.
This unique approach has the advantage of being low cost, and allows for faster market entry, providing doctors and patients with conclusive scientific evidence to recommend and use medical marijuana with confidence. This “lean and mean” approach has already gained attention within investment media. Additionally, the presence of such evidence could potentially develop the platform allowing coverage through medical insurance providers.
Veritas Pharma CEO, Dr. Lui Franciosi, explains that Veritas has “the skillset and the abilities to potentially substantiate claims surrounding marijuana for medicinal use. Not only from a scientific, but an intellectual property point of view, protecting our research and discovery in this exciting space.”
The Scientific Team
To achieve above goals, Veritas Pharma is investing in Cannevert Therapeutics, which consists of a team of chemists, pharmacologists and anesthetists with a successful track record of drug discovery and development. Veritas CEO Dr. Franciosi commented, “Investing in Cannevert will enable Veritas to be at the forefront of this evolving industry. These scientists have the rare skills necessary to discover new medicines, with a history of generating over $1 billion worth of investor value. They will likely repeat their success again, this time through development of new and unique strains of medical cannabis for a variety of unmet medical needs.”
Prof. Michael Walker is the President and Head of Biology for Cannevert Therapeutics. His impressive drug discovery track record extends to several successful companies, including Cardiome Pharma (TSX:COM). Verona Pharma PLC (AIM:VRP), and IOmet Pharma UK.
Cannevert’s scientific team includes the following researchers:
Dr. Michael J.A. Walker, PhD
Emeritus professor at University of British Columbia with expertise in general pharmacology, toxins, pharmacology of excitable tissues, drug design and development. He holds numerous patents, and has founded several public and private companies in Canada and the United Kingdom including Cardiome Pharma Corp. (TSX:COM), and Verona Pharma PLC (AIM:VRP). Michael is currently president of Cannevert Therapeutics.
Dr. Bernard A. MacLeod, MD
He is Cannevert’s senior clinical scientist. A UBC emeritus professor with a long career as an anesthesiologist bringing 30 years of experience in preclinical and clinical pharmacology research. He was former head of anesthesiology at University Hospital and at the British Columbia Cancer Agency. He is co-holder of patents in the areas of anti-arrhythmic drugs, analgesic drugs and computer techniques for mathematical modeling of anesthetic depth and prediction of epilepsy. Dr. MacLeod has previously contributed as director and scientific advisor to Cardiome Pharma Corp. (TSX:COM).
Richard A. Wall, PhD
Trained with honours in chemistry at the University of California and received a PhD degree in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. He is Cannevert’s principal chemist and also a UBC emeritus professor. He was instrumental in the scientific foundation of Cardiome Pharma Corp. (TSX:COM). He has produced more than 70 scientific papers and authorship of 20 patents on analytical and medicinal chemistry.
Dr. Ernest Puil, PhD
Pharmacology consultant who is also an active emeritus professor at UBC. He has an international reputation in CNS pharmacology and the current CEO of Therexcell Pharma Inc. His laboratory is internationally known for research on many therapies. He is a co-holder of patents on potential therapeutic uses of compounds and techniques for prediction of epileptic seizures.
Andrew Hegle, PhD
PhD with expertise in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the University of Michigan. He is currently a UBC adjunct professor. He is experienced in developing industrial analytical chemistry systems, helping to establish the first cannabinoid research laboratory at the UBC Department of Pharmacology. Dr. Hegle is a Senior scientist at Cannevert.
Dr. Thomas Stokes, PhD
A Cannevert chemistry consultant. He is both a chemistry expert and ethnopharmacologist with extensive corporate experience, primarily in implementing biological methodologies for enhancing yields in traditional industries. Dr. Stokes is an enzymologist with training in biochemistry at Rice University in Houston, Tex.
Ricardo Rivera-Acevedo, PhD
Senior scientist and a UBC adjunct professor with a strong background in experimental pharmacology and pathophysiology. Earned his PhD in pharmacology from UBC, designing novel pharmacological approaches to pain control and chronic pain management techniques using experimental ionotropic cannabinoid receptor antagonists. As a UBC postdoctoral fellow he studied cardiac pharmacology and pathophysiology, before joining the Department of Pharmacology in 2014 where he established the department’s first analytical laboratory for cannabinoid research.
On behalf of the Board of Directors Veritas Pharma Inc.
“Dr. Lui Franciosi”
Dr. Lui Franciosi
Chief Executive Officer
Investor and Public Relations Contact
Veritas Pharma Inc.
Email: [email protected].com
- de Bruin D, Ahmad T, Avendano JE, Sajanial M, Edelstein A, Ryskin M. 2015. Bank of America Report Is Bullish on Cannabis Testing. Biotech Business Week, Dec. 3, ,pp. 1–45
- Gupta, Sanjay, Dr. “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed.” CNN. Cable News Network, 8 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 June 2016.
The CSE has not reviewed, nor approved or disapproved the content of this press release.
DISCLAIMER: Forward-Looking Information: This news release contains certain forward-looking information. All information, other than information regarding historic fact that addresses activities, events or developments that the Company believes, expects or anticipates will or may occur in the future is forward-looking information. The forward-looking information contained in this news release reflects the current expectations, assumptions and/or beliefs of the Company based on information currently available to the Company. With respect to the forward-looking information contained in this news release, the Company has made assumptions regarding, among other things, the results of the research and development activities, and the continued ability of the Company to raise additional financing. The forward-looking information contained in this news release is subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations, including the any future changes to laws pertaining to the use of cannabis derived pharmaceuticals, prices and demand for cannabis derived pharmaceuticals, future currency and interest rates. Additionally, if the Company is unable to obtain additional financing, the Company may be required to curtail activities and/or liquidate its assets or the Company’s creditors may seek to seize its assets. Any forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable law, the Company disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward-looking information, either because of new information, future events or for any other reason. Although the Company believes that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking information are reasonable, forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such information due to the inherent uncertainty therein. The CSE has not reviewed, nor approved or disapproved the contents of this press release.