Cannabinoid therapy developer InMed and French tissue engineering company ATERA have teamed up to develop 3-D human skin models with tissue taken from epidermolysis bullosa (EB) patients. The models will be used to test InMed’s candidate therapy INM-750 in the lab before moving to clinical trials in humans.
EB is a connective tissue disease characterized by extremely fragile skin that blisters or easily tears. The condition is caused by genetic mutations that reduce certain proteins (keratins) on skin layers. No approved treatments for EB currently exist.
INM-750 is designed to reduce disease activity and symptoms in EB and other dermatological conditions. It is derived from the cannabis plant.
The cannabinoids present in INM-750 were selected to control keratin levels and address EB symptoms by reducing inflammation, itching, and pain, and by promoting wound healing and skin regeneration.
INM-750 is being developed for topical application and is designed to maximize skin penetration.
“INM-750 has demonstrated significant potential in pre-clinical models to address symptomatic improvement of EB including accelerated wound healing and a reduction in pain, itch and inflammation. This project with ATERA is designed to assess the potential of INM-750 to have an impact in disease reversal, further supporting our current data indicating an up-regulation in specific keratins in the skin,” Sazzad Hossain, PhD, InMed’s chief scientific officer, said in a press release.
“By utilizing full-thickness skin models derived from EB skin samples, we can better validate INM-750’s target effect and efficacy in vitro ahead of our upcoming clinical trial program,” Hossain added.
ATERA will develop the 3-D, laboratory-grown, human skin models (with the top two layers of skin) from biopsies of both normal skin and skin from patients with EB. The companies will then assess potential benefits of topically applied INM-750 in the models by examining them at the cellular and molecular levels.
“Producing 3D human tissue models of specific diseases in a controlled, reproducible fashion provides a unique tool for drug development screening,” said Bart De Wever, CEO of ATERA. “Our core technology enables the development of 3D human skin models engineered of cells from EB patient biopsies that will help InMed investigate the mode-of-action of its lead compound INM-750.”