PERTH: Zelira Therapeutics Ltd has entered into a non-binding Heads of Agreement with Melbourne-based medical cannabis company Levin Growing Pty Ltd to form a partnership to develop a novel cannabinoid-based treatment for sports-related chronic pain experienced by retired professional and amateur athletes.
Studies show that retired athletes are more likely to suffer chronic pain and associated conditions such as depression and anxiety as a result of injuries and physical exertion over long periods of time. Medical cannabis may provide a safe and effective targeted treatment option for this large cohort although the clinical data is currently limited.
Zelira’s partnership with Levin will seek to address this unmet need by undertaking a clinical trial, at Levin’s expense, to assess the safety and efficacy of a proprietary cannabinoid formulation tailored for sportsrelated chronic pain. The proposed partnership will leverage Zelira’s leading intellectual property portfolio and expertise in clinical trial design for medical cannabis, including chronic pain, along with Levin’s advisory team and network of retired professional athletes. This targeted approach provides an opportunity to build a leading international brand supported by clinical data that addresses a specific and widespread unmet medical need.
Levin Growing Pty Ltd (Levin) is a privately-owned medical cannabis company, awarded a cultivation licence from the Australian Office of Drug Control in 2019. Levin is also developing the Levinol range of medical cannabis products, to be supported by clinical research programs providing patients and healthcare professionals with targeted, clinically validated treatment options.
Upon the Heads of Agreement becoming binding, Zelira will license a specific formulation to Levin to support the chronic pain clinical trial in retired athletes. Levin will fund the trial while Zelira will be responsible for designing and co-ordinating the study. Zelira will hold marketing rights for North and South America with Levin retaining rights to all other world markets. Profits will be shared equally between both companies. Negotiations will commence immediately to prepare a definitive and binding agreement, which will be conditional upon acceptance of the clinical trial design by both parties.
Matt Syme, Chairman of Levin said “We are delighted to partner with Zelira, one of the world’s leading clinical medical cannabis companies, to pursue effective treatment options for chronic pain in athletes. Levin’s work with our advisory Board member and well-known sports administrator James Brayshaw has highlighted a number of retired professional athletes suffering chronic pain due to their athletic careers, and there is no doubt a much larger pool of amateur athletes as well. Zelira’s clinical expertise and our joint focus on the medical science behind cannabis as a pain treatment provides hope for long overdue, non-addictive relief options to chronic, sports-related pain sufferers.”
Dr Richard Hopkins, Managing Director ex-US markets said “Our partnership with Levin provides an exciting opportunity to expand and complement our strategic focus on developing novel cannabinoid based therapies to treat chronic pain. It also supports the investment we have made in our intellectual property portfolio that is facilitating multiple licensing opportunities. The Levin partnership provides Zelira shareholders with a low risk strategy to gain access to a potentially large global market opportunity while preserving Zelira’s immediate focus on launching its products for insomnia and autism.”
Zelira has made other advances in using its proprietary products, most notably opioid reduction for people suffering chronic pain. It is currently involved in an Opioid Reduction Study in collaboration with St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne. It is undertaking a study to assess the safety and effectiveness of medical cannabis to reduce opioid dependence. Prescription opioids treating chronic pain are linked to serious side effects, which is a growing global crisis.