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15 March 2017

The University of Oxford and Kingsley Capital Partners announce ground breaking Cannabinoid Biomedicine Research Programme

Oxford University (“Oxford”) and Kingsley Capital Partners (“Kingsley”) today announce the launch of a pioneering research programme to investigate the role of cannabinoids in biology and medicine. The programme combines Oxford’s world leading research and clinical expertise in cancer, immunology and neuroscience with UK-based Kingsley’s network and financial support in the therapeutic cannabinoid market and aims to address largely unmet medical need in pain, cancer and inflammatory disease, through the development of new therapies for acute and chronic conditions.

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 world leading medical research teams, Oxford will seek to identify cutting edge medical therapies through research into the molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms of cannabinoids. 

The research programme will develop 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. 

Ahmed Ahmed, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at Oxford, said: “Cannabinoid research has started to produce exciting biological discoveries and this research programme is a timely opportunity to increase our understanding of the 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.’

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.”

– Ends –


Notes to Editors


About Oxford University
Oxford University was ranked in September 2016 by The Times Higher Education as the top university in the world. The University’s Medical Sciences Division is one of the largest biomedical research centres in Europe, with over 2,500 people involved in research and more than 2,800 students. The University is rated the best in the world for medicine, and it is home to the UK’s top-ranked medical school. From the genetic and molecular basis of disease to the latest advances in neuroscience, Oxford is at the forefront of medical research. It has one of the largest clinical trial portfolios in the UK and great expertise in taking discoveries from the lab into the clinic. Partnerships with local NHS Trusts enable patients to benefit from close links between medical research and healthcare delivery.

Alongside the cannabis research programme, Kingsley Capital Partners has established a series of cannabinoid based companies in a number of jurisdictions which legally authorise the use of cannabis. It is placing at Oxford’s disposal its extensive network of cannabinoid experts from across the world, including from Israel, Canada, and the USA.


About Kingsley Capital Partners
Kingsley is a London-based private equity business, founded in 2013 by Hee-Dong Kim and Neil Mahapatra that creates and invests in fast growing companies. Kingsley has made several private equity investments in the UK, and is the only investment firm based in Europe to have made a concerted push into investing in the global legalised cannabis market. In 2015, Kingsley co-founded US based holding company Forma Holdings, which operates assets out of the US. Forma is currently completing its next fundraise: all investors in Forma will receive a stake in OCT.


About the Medical Cannabis Market
Medical cannabis is currently authorised for use in 28 US states and Washington DC. In February 2017, Israel authorised the legal export of cannabis for medical use to other countries. Thirteen European countries have now introduced medical cannabis legislation and the Irish government is currently supporting draft legislation to permit medicalised cannabis. Australia, Uruguay and Brazil have all announced medicinal cannabis legalisation programmes in the past 12 months.

In late 2016, the US government lifted a cultivation embargo for academic institutions that has persisted for several decades. This allows US research institutions to start exploring the medical benefits of cannabis.

In the UK, on 13 October 2016, the UK’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced that the cannabis-based ingredient, cannabidiol (or CBD) would, from January 2017, be classified as a medicine. On 13 September 2016, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, in its report Accessing Medicinal Cannabis: Meeting Patients’ Needs, recommended the legalised and regulated use of cannabis-related products for sufferers of a range of acute and chronic conditions. On 14 November 2016, the British Medical Journal supported the legalisation of cannabis products for medical treatments, recommending that “doctors should use their authority to lead calls for pragmatic reform informed by science and ethics.”


Contact Details:

Simon Nayyar, Managing Director, Acuitas Communications

Address: 17 Hanover Square, London W1S 1BN

Tel: +44 (0)20 3870 1248 or +44 (0)7799 767676

Email: simon.nayyar@acuitascomms.com

 

Fraser Schurer-Lewis, Consultant, Acuitas Communications

Address: 17 Hanover Square, London W1S 1BN

Tel: +44 (0)20 3870 1248 or +44 (0)7961 027281

Email: fraser.schurer-lewis@acuitascomms.com

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