A new research program has been launched by Oxford University that will investigate the role of cannabinoids in human health and aims to develop new therapies that could benefit millions.
The research is being made possible by an initial investment of up to £10 million provided by Kingsley Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in London. It will be funded through Kingsley’s new portfolio company Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT). Currently, OCT is focused on areas including inflammatory conditions, pain management, cancer and neurological disorders
‘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,” said Neil Mahapatra, Managing Partner of Kingsley
“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.”
OCT is already calling for volunteers interested in participating in clinical trials.
Oxford and Kingsley will also host an International Cannabinoid Biomedicine Conference late this year. Additionally, Kingsley says OCT will fund other cannabinoid research programmes with the University involving different therapeutic areas in the time ahead.
The company says it began investing in the legalised cannabis market in 2015, and is the only investment firm outside of the United States to do so on a formal basis. The company also has interests in Forma Holdings in the USA, which operates in retail and cultivation, and life sciences.
Acceptance of medical cannabis has been steadily gaining ground in the UK and the Oxford program will no doubt boost the credibility of cannabis medicine further; both locally and on the international scene.
There’s certainly plenty of support for medical marijuana in the country – results of a poll published late November last year indicated 72% of Britons back medical cannabis legalisation.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency declared the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) a medicine in September last year – although that proved to be somewhat of a double-edged sword.
Also in September, a report from the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform recommended the government introduces a system enabling lawful access to medicinal cannabis.