Anebulo is Developing an Antidote to Cannabis Intoxication

The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

The company Anebulo Pharmaceuticals ANEB is investing in an antidote for cannabis intoxication. The social and medical issues associated with acute cannabis intoxication (ACI) are often underestimated, because of the perceived lack of risk of cannabis overdose. However, ACI is a major cause of emergency room visits, accounting for over 1.7 million ER in 2018, or over 1% of all visits to the ER during that year – and this number is growing at an estimated 15% annually. Cannabis is the second most common cause of ER visits due to drug use after methamphetamine and is more common than alcohol, heroin, or cocaine.

A cannabis antidote would be a new tool in the arsenal of ER physicians to deal with this persistent and worsening problem. The drug in development at Anebulo ANEB-001 binds to the receptor in the brain responsible for intoxication (CB1) 70 times stronger than THC but does not activate it, and the hope is that this can reverse the effects of THC. 

The History of ANEB-001

ANEB-001 was originally developed by Vernalis in the early 2000s and has already been tested in Phase I clinical trials. These studies found the drug safe and tolerable with on-target effects, suggesting it is actively binding CB1 in human volunteers.

In 2020, Anebulo licensed ANEB-001 from Ligand Pharmaceuticals, which previously acquired Vernalis in 2018. The deal included undisclosed milestones and a single digit royalty on future sales. A Ligand board member sits on the board of Anebulo (Jason Aryeh). 

ANEB-001 was previously investigated by Vernalis in Phase I, which demonstrated the safety of the compound across multiple doses. The drug was originally developed for weight loss, which it demonstrated in Phase I. However, the development of the product was discontinued after a different CB1 antagonist (rimonabant, developed by Sanofi) showed significant side effects after prolonged administration (months or more). Administration of ANEB-001 as a cannabis antidote would be limited to a single dose. 

A number of other CB1 antagonists have been developed in the past, and all that have been tested have shown an ability to prevent and reverse the effects of cannabis or THC. Additionally, Vernalis showed during preclinical studies of ANEB-001 that oral administration of ANEB-001 reversed the action of THC in mice. 

The hope is that ANEB can alleviate some of the negative outcomes associated with ACI. The company will investigate this in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II clinical study of ANEB-001 in 2021.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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