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Oxford University and Kingsley Capital Partners have launched a new research programme to investigate the role of cannabinoids in biology and medicine.

Cannabinoid biomedicine research programme launched Shutterstock

The programme aims to develop new therapies for acute and chronic conditions including pain, cancer and inflammatory disease.

Through an initial investment of up to £10 million provided by Kingsley, funded through its new portfolio company Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT), and a series of research projects performed by medical research teams, Oxford will seek to identify new medical therapies through research into the molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms of cannabinoids.

Ahmed Ahmed, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology, Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, said: ‘Cannabinoid research has started to produce exciting biological discoveries and this research programme is a timely opportunity to increase our understanding of role of cannabinoids in health and disease. This field holds great promise for developing novel therapeutic opportunities for cancer patients.’ 

Associate Professor in Clinical Neurosciences, Zameel Cader said: ‘Endocannabinoid signalling is increasingly recognised as fundamentally important in the development and function of the nervous system. This exciting programme of work has the potential to lead to the development of novel therapies for neurological disorders.’

Oxford and Kingsley will host an International Cannabinoid Biomedicine Conference, designed to increase dialogue in the cannabinoid research space, the first of which will take place in Q4 2017.

Neil Mahapatra, Managing Partner of Kingsley, said: ‘Medical cannabis and cannabinoid medicine is already helping patients with some of the most distressing conditions across the world. However, research into the specific pathways and mechanisms that create this benefit is limited and long overdue. Through OCT, we hope our strategic partnership with Oxford will support the development of innovative new therapies to help millions of people around the world. The partnership gives the UK a global leadership role in this fast-growing field.’

The research programme will develop the results into innovative therapies designed to help improve the quality of life of millions of patients. Over time, OCT will fund additional cannabinoid research programmes with the University across different therapeutic areas. This strategic partnership aims to turn Oxford and OCT into a global centre of excellence in cannabinoid research.