A three-way multidisciplinary collaboration among Hadasit–the Hadassah Medical Center’s technology transfer company, Yissum–Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, and the United Kingdom’s Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research (KIR) has led to the development of a drug from the cannabis plant to treat diabetes, arthritis, atherosclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and cardiovascular disorders.

The three partners recently signed a licensing agreement with ISA Scientific, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of cannabinoids as human medicine. The drug is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, referred to as cannabidiol (CBD), which means it does not affect the mind or mental processes.

The licensed intellectual property is the result of many years of research and collaboration among Hadassah’s physicians–Prof. Chaim Lotan, head of Hadassah’s Heart Institute, Dr. Ronen Durst, a cardiologist, and Dr. Lola Weiss, Researcher in the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cancer Immunotherapy–with scientists from the Hebrew University– Raphael Mechoulam, Prof. of Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacology, and Ruth Gallily, Professor of Immunology–and Prof. Sir Marc Feldman, Director of KIR.

“We have done some interesting work already with Prof. Mechoulam,” notes Prof. Lotan. “He is one of the great leaders in the field of medical uses of cannabinoids. We have shown that it can decrease infarct size in rats.”

Phase 1 CBD clinical trials, which are investigating the safety and best dosage, are now underway at Hadassah and arrangements for Phase 2 trials to treat diabetes and neuropathic pain are in process.

Prof. Lotan adds: “We look towards further research. It is very interesting, with significant promise.”