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Research & Development Medical research, Pharmaceutical

THC for Tourette’s

What?
THX-TS01, a drug candidate combining synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) into a single dose for the treatment of Tourette’s syndrome. A preliminary clinical trial is set to finish soon.

Who?
Pharmaceutical company Therapix Biosciences Ltd are partnering with drug delivery specialists Catalent Pharma Solutions. The Catalent team will develop, formulate, and manufacture the novel softgel drug candidate at their Florida facility.

Why?
Previous research has demonstrated that THC can reduce the physical and vocal tics that characterize Tourette’s Syndrome (1). Therapix state that their objective is to manufacture an effective, FDA-approved medication for reduction of these symptoms.

How?
A press release from Therapix states, “[PEA] may indirectly stimulate the cannabinoid receptors by potentiating their affinity for a receptor, or by inhibiting their metabolic degradation”, which could increase the uptake – and efficacy – of the THC. This example of two endocannabinoid system actors working in synergy was described as the “Entourage Effect” by pioneering organic chemist Raphael Mechoulam. Softgels are used to formulate poorly water-soluble drugs (like cannabinoids) into tablet form.

What next?
The drug combination is currently being tested in a proof-of-concept trial in a small group of Tourette’s sufferers. A separate drug development program (THX-ULD01) aims to treat mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to dementia.

Reference
KR Müller-Vahl, “Cannabinoids reduce symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome”, Expert Opin Pharmacother, 4, 1717-1725 (2003).

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