OWC Pharmaceuticals Runs Clinical Study at Sheba on Cannabis Ointment to Treat Psoriasis
Israel is a world-recognized leader in medical cannabis research, analyzing the properties of the main psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds of the plant. Because Israel is one of the few countries in the world to approve research studies on cannabis regularly, the Israeli Ministry of Health founded OWC Pharmaceuticals Research Corp. in 2014 to run the clinical trials.
Recently, OWCP launched a Phase I study of a topical cannabinoid-based ointment to treat psoriasis, conducted by Prof. Aviv Barzilai at Sheba Medical Center. Preliminary studies showed a notable reduction in IL-8 and IL-33 biomarkers.
Psoriasis is a genetic condition, and some form of this skin disease affects approximately 5% of all people worldwide. The drug market size for psoriasis is predicted to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4%. Last July, OWCP addressed this by announcing a new business plan to study the specific effects of cannabis on psoriasis. Essentially, the company made a decision to focus on medically viable products instead of rushing to fill the market with commercial products that have no solid medical findings to support their efficacy.
Dr. Stanley Hirsch, Chairman of the Board, OWCP, wrote a letter to shareholders, in which he explained, “The field in which we operate is increasingly crowded with unproven products. We believe the companies that will succeed in such a market will be the ones that have invested their resources in providing validated proof of efficacy and safety for their products.”
In the past, OWCP referred to products as being “market ready.” This term described formulated products that could be marketed, yet without scientific validation. With their recent business decision, OWCP declared that they do not want to compete in this undifferentiated commercial market. Rather, OWCP will focus on the long-term outcome of generating strong value for the company and its shareholders.
As medical cannabis becomes more accepted and widespread across the globe, OWCP and the researchers at Sheba Medical Center are well-positioned to advance its efficient use. They are continuing Israel’s legacy of pushing forward with cannabinoid clinical testing.