Avicanna (TSX: AVCN) (OTCMKTS:AVCIF), a biopharmaceutical company focused on plant-derived cannabinoid-based products, said it has expanded its research and collaboration agreement with Dr. Christine Allen’s research group at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Allen has stepped down as Avicanna’s chief scientific officer and has joined the University of Toronto. However, she will increase her involvement in Avicanna’s pharmaceutical development through the expanded collaboration between Avicanna and Dr. Allen’s research group, according to the company.
Meanwhile, Avicanna said that it has entered into a research agreement with the University of Guelph.
Avicanna wanst to become a leader in cannabinoid-based research and development. The company expects to spend approximately $257,000 in 2019, $410,000 in 2020, $395,000 in 2021 and $198,000 in 2022 on its research and development activities in connection with these agreements.
University of Toronto Collaboration
Avicanna has amended its sponsored research and collaboration agreement with the University of Toronto to extend its partnership with Dr. Allen’s research group to November 2022.
The expanded agreement outlines several projects including the characterization and pre-clinical analysis of Avicanna’s pipeline of phyto-therapeutic and pharmaceutical products and the development of other pharmaceutical dosage forms including sustained release formulations.
Additional projects under the research and collaboration agreement include analysis of the safety, efficacy and potential synergies of cannabinoids and other therapeutic agents.
Additionally, Avicanna will collaborate with the University of Toronto to design and develop advanced nanoparticle and microparticle-based pharmaceutical formulations comprised of cannabinoid/terpene-based therapies with a specific focus on applications in cancer, osteoarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
In addition, Dr. Allen has accepted a role as associate vice-president and vice-provost, strategic initiatives at the University of Toronto. In connection with her appointment, she has stepped down as the company’s chief scientific officer but will continue to lead Avicanna’s pharmaceutical development efforts through the extended research and collaboration agreement.
University of Guelph Research Agreement
Avicanna has entered into a research agreement with the University of Guelph for a project to be performed by Dr. Max Jones, associate professor, Department of Plant Agriculture, as principal investigator.
Dr. Jones has been involved in the development of Avicanna’s genetics and breeding program over the past six months. The program is focused on the stabilization of unique commercial strains, long term selective breeding programs to develop genetics with increased efficiency and also increased expression and characterization of rare cannabinoids.
The project to be performed under the research agreement is expected to provide genetic analysis of Avicanna’s cultivars to provide a genetic “fingerprint” for each cultivar and determine their relative relationships to one another.
Additionally, Dr. Jones’ group is hopeful to produce polyploid plants for Avicanna’s breeding program and establish and optimize tissue culture and micropropagation methods that can be utilized in Avicanna’s cultivation sites in Colombia.
All research data and research reports created under the research agreement will remain the sole property of Avicanna. However, the company has granted a license to the University of Guelph to use such reports and data for research and academic purposes.
The study is expected to be completed in two phases and will continue for a period of one year from the date the University of Guelph obtains a permit from Health Canada to import certain plant material from the company’s subsidiaries in Colombia. The study is expected to cost around $59,360.
“As a leading company focused on research and development and intellectual property development in the cannabinoid industry, we believe it is imperative to have this evidence-based philosophy in all of our business units including our cultivation projects, and its genetics and seed programs. With this collaboration we aim to ensure that Avicanna is prepared for the future of this emerging industry by staying ahead of the curve through our advanced genetic development and breeding programs,” Avicanna CEO Aras Azadian stated.