Pharmotech SA is a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company focused on the development of new antibiotic solutions based on cannabinoids.
The cannabinoids medical potential has been demonstrated through research. The most well-known applications are as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiety, oncology and the alleviation of the adverse effects produced by cancer treatments. Nevertheless, there are other interesting applications that start to draw the attention of researchers and industry because of their relevance for human health. This is the case of the antibacterial use of cannabinoids.
What does research say about antibiotic potential of cannabinoids?
In 1976, A. Van Leeuwenhoek made the first publication explaining the potential use of THC and CBD against Staphylococci and Streptococci bacteria and that Gram-negative bacteria were resistant to both cannabinoids. It was 32 years after the mentioned study, when G. Appendino explored further the antibiotic use against Gram positive bacteria, showing a potent activity against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
What is the story behind Pharmotech and their interest on using cannabinoids as antibiotics?
The CEO of Pharmotech SA, Rodin Aeschbach, was involved in the first legal cannabis cultivation in Switzerland. Soon after performing his first CBD extraction, he started to raise interest in its potential for medical purposes. The first studies performed in collaboration with the University of Geneva convinced him to invest more efforts into the anti-microbiological use of cannabinoids.
What bacteria are you currently investigating?
In 2014, Pharmotech SA decided to investigate the full potential of cannabinoids against bacteria but paying special attention to multi drug resistant (MDR) bacteria, as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. As a result, Pharmotech SA is in an advanced position in the use of cannabinoids as antibiotics.
Why MDR bacteria?
Finding new antibiotics which work against MDR bacteria is of extreme importance for humankind. Bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics and an important number of them are responsible for nosocomial infections acquired inside hospitals – furthermore they are resistant to regular therapies.
The World Health Organization published in 2017 the Priority Pathogens List to encourage public and private institutions to look for new solutions against the MDR bacteria.
How do you see the future of CBD as an antibiotic?
In our opinion, cannabinoids and CBD in particular, are going to become an alternative treatment against MDR bacteria. Pre-clinical studies carried out by Pharmotech SA have shown the efficacy of CBD against several antibiotic resistant bacteria included in the critical and high priority for WHO. Furthermore, the generation of antibiotic resistance by these bacteria seems as low as the found for Vancomycin.
How can CBD ‘compete’ with other antibiotics?
The safety profile of CBD is an additional advantage when compared with other antibiotics. The limited and mild side effects produced by CBD favour its use as a first line therapy because of the positive benefits /risk ratio. However, we Should not forget about the drug interactions. CBD (and other cannabinoids) are responsible for inhibiting or inducing the CYT P-450. This can affect the way our body metabolises other drugs decreasing or increasing their blood levels.
What is Pharmotech currently doing?
Pharmotech’s business model is based on three axis: (i) Research and development of our own products, (ii) manufacturing and distribution of our own products and (iii) OEM and ODM for third companies.
We have recently obtained Swissmedic Pharmaceutical licencse (GMP/GDP) for our facilities.
Do you already have products in the market?
Yes, we have a number of CBD products available at the moment. We distribute them through pharmacies and health-related partners. Our ‘Actidiol CBD’ product is available in four different concentrations and is enjoying great acceptance. Furthermore our ‘Actiskin CBD,’ a cream containing 1% CBD is drawing the attention of several people.
When do you plan to have your first medical product in the market?
We have a number of medical products under development and we expect to get the commercialisation approval in two years.
This article has also appeared in Health Europa Quarterly Issue 11, which is available to read now.