Irish pharmaceutical start-up, GreenLight Medicines has just secured €500,000 in phase 2 funding from a consortium of private Irish investors as it sets out to develop breakthrough medicines.
Following on from an initial €100,000 seed investment, the phase 2 funding will enable GreenLight Medicines to further progress its Irish and UK research in advancing medicines using cannabis extracts (cannabinoids) and other plant-derived molecules to treat a variety of illnesses.
In addition to the Irish investment, Swiss-American firm, Isodiol, has committed €1.25 million in CBD hemp oil products over a five-year period to assist GreenLight in cultivating its research studies within Irish universities. Isodiol has also agreed a 5-year research contract with GreenLight so as to further validate the CBD medicines they have already developed in the US.
Founded in 2015 by Wicklow-based Founder and CEO, Dr. James Linden, GreenLight Medicines is a Research and Development company, that primarily focuses on elucidating the full potential of cannabis and its primary components – cannabinoids – as a medicine to treat a multitude of diseases.
Commenting on the company’s current studies in Ireland, Dr. James Linden says: “There’s mounting evidence that cannabinoids are an effective form of treatment for many illnesses, including Multiple Sclerosis (MS), glaucoma, arthritis, epilepsy and cancer. GreenLight’s focus is on conducting research that will be the catalyst in bringing these life-changing medicines to fruition, that have the potential to help thousands of people manage their conditions.
“We’ve spent the last 24 months developing research programmes with many Universities in Ireland – including University College Dublin, University College Cork, NUI Galway and the Royal College of Surgeons – and this month sees the first tranche of research projects going live.”
Commenting on the importance of the phase 2 investment, Dr Linden adds: “Our private investors have a track record in pharma investment in Europe and the US, and their knowledge and financial commitment, in addition to Isodiol’s investment, will enable us to complete our initial research modules into cannabinoid treatment for inflammation, eye disease and pain relief amongst other conditions.”
The team behind GreenLight is comprised of former chairman of the UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Professor David Nutt of Imperial College has just been appointed as GreenLight’s Chief Medical Officer. Professor Nutt is an internationally acclaimed researcher in addiction and is working alongside Dr. Keith Murphy of UCD on GreenLight’s addiction study.
Other internationally-recognised experts include cancer researcher, Professor William Gallagher from UCD, cannabinoids researcher Professor David Finn from NUIG, biochemist Professor Tom Cotter from UCC and Professor David Henshall from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Professor Henshall is Chairman of Neuroscience Ireland and leads a team of over 20 researchers in the study of epilepsy.
Explaining the requirement for external investment Mr Patrick Deasy, GreenLight Medicines Chief Financial Officer, said: “Pre-clinical and clinical trials are crucial in furthering diagnostics and treatment of illnesses, however to bring a medicine through the approval process, from research and clinical trials to being available to patients is an extremely in-depth process and costs millions.
“Clinical trials are generally five years in duration, costing in the region of €7-10 million per drug, therefore seed and phase two investment has been essential in driving GreenLight’s vision forward. In early 2017, we will be conducting our third call for investment funding, and due to the heightened awareness in cannabinoid benefits and research, we’ve already received a great deal of interest from additional investors.”
GreenLight-commissioned research is currently underway in a number of universities throughout Ireland including: University College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Ulster University. Queen’s University Belfast, University College Cork and NUI Galway will commence research in early 2017, and Imperial College London will also begin investigating the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease through cannabinoids in March 2017.