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Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc, based in Norwood Mass, recently received a patent for Lenabasum (previously known as Anabasum). Lenabasum is for chronic inflammation and fibrotic Diseases, but has primarily been tested on patients with systemic sclerosis. Systemic sclerosis impacts roughly 90,000 people in the United States alone and 80% of them are women. Lenabasum is a type of ajulemic acid, which are synthetic, oral, small molecule analogs of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The FBI granted Lenabasum, then Anabasum, Orphan Drug Designation and Fast Track status to treat Sclerosis in 2015.
What is Corbus?
Corbus is a phase 3 clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development and production of new medicines to treat rare, chronic and serious inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. Though the medication is not yet released there is lots of talk on the potential risk and reward of investing in Corbus stock, and the stock buyers are divided on the profitability of doing so. Corbus’ Social Responsibility plan outlines: a company concern for social issues–particularly human trafficking–training staff on labor laws, and training for employees on policies and how to respond to any violations.
What is Lenabasum?
Lenabasum is ajulemic acid (C25H36O4). It is a chemical compound made to mimic the effects of THC. Activation of CB2, which both do, triggers physiologic pathways to suppress “neuropathic pain.” However, unlike THC, this oral small molecule selective medication does not have psychoactive effects.
Lenabasum is a synthetic, oral endocannabinoid mimetic drug designed to address rare and serious inflammatory-fibrotic diseases. It binds to a small molecule selective cannabinoid; cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) to resolve inflammation, speed bacterial clearance, and halt fibrosis. CB2 activation triggers physiologic pathway to diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis. Lenabasum is still being evaluated in clinical studies, but thus far has had fairly positive research results.
What is Lenabasum for?
Barbara White (MD), an employee of Corbus, said in an interview, Lenabasum “restores homeostasis, gets rid of inflammation, turns off active fibrotic process, and helps clear bacteria if it is present–all without immunosuppression.” Lenabasum is intended to treat inflammation and fibrotic processes, including systemic sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, dermatomyositis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. The trials so far have benefited patients, with improvements around skin symptoms (including photo sensitivity and itch), fatigue, sleep, interference with activities, pain, and physical function.
There were also no serious adverse effects. Though side effects included dizziness, dyspepsia, headache, dry mouth, and increased appetite. Lenabasum is also is designed, as stated above, for treating cystic fibrosis (CF) which is critical, as there aren’t many on pharmacy shelves. Most drugs intended to treat CF are for specific mutations and Lenabasum could be more universal.
Inflammation is the body’s natural attempt at protecting its vascular tissue from harmful stimuli. It was only recently discovered that just as the immune system can be triggered into turning up inflammation, it can also be triggered into turning down inflammation.
The are two concerns however; according to Corbus’ data, there was no statistical improvement of Lenabasum over the placebo in regard to forced expiratory volume. Successful cystic fibrosis drugs tend to improve lung function. Also, with their high price point and large upfront cost, coming from a company dependent upon the success of one medicine, it is quite possible it’ll be pricey.