Development of cGMP Manufacturing Process for CBD

Period of Performance: 09/01/2016 - 08/31/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aphios Corporation
Woburn, MA 01801
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Medical marijuana is now approved in 20 states and the District of Columbia for several medical conditions such as cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, muscle spasticity and nausea. Progress has been made on several fronts on the use of cannabinoids for medical use such as Charlotte's Web (CW) being used for childhood epilepsy through ad hoc development by patient advocacy groups. Sativex¿ (GW Pharmaceuticals, England), a drug containing equal proportions of ?9-THC and CBD, was recently approved as a second-line treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) associated spasticity in Canada, New Zealand and 8 European countries. The ready availability of pharmaceutical-grade CBD and a standardized CW product, manufactured following cGMP guidelines, will facilitate clinical evaluation by NIH investigators and other researchers for epilepsy, MS and other CNS diseases. The developed process will also be utilized for the manufacturing of ?9-THC, already in use for cancer pain and nausea and AIDS-related cachexia, and other cannabinoids in development. The primary goal of this research program is to develop a process for manufacturing pharmaceutical grade CBD following current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) of the US FDA for use in clinical trials for childhood epilepsy and other CNS indications by the NIH and other researchers. Our secondary goal is to develop a standardized, enriched CBD fraction, similar to Charlotte's Web (CW) for use in childhood epilepsy. We hypothesize that CBD and CW can be cost-effectively manufactured from high CBD content Cannabis sativa (hemp) utilizing supercritical fluid technology, and that such a process could also produce other bioactive cannabinoid mixtures for future research and therapeutic use. We propose to manufacture pharmaceutical-grade CBD (>98.5% and < 0.3% ?9-THC) and a standardized CW fraction (30% CBD and < 0.3% ?9-THC) both following cGMP guidelines by utilizing supercritical fluids and near- critical fluids with or without polar co-solvents such as alcohols (SuperFluids¿). These fluids are gases such as carbon dioxide which when compressed, exhibit enhanced thermodynamic properties that can be fine-tuned for rapid and selective extraction of bioactive molecules. We will obtain sufficient quantities of high CBD content Cannabis sativa from growers in Colorado, Maine or Massachusetts and/or NIDA to conduct the proposed research. Under the newly passed Farm bill, recently signed by President Obama, the farming and intra-state transportation of hemp (< 0.3% ?9-THC) are now exempt from the Schedule 1 requirements of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Since 2002, Aphios has been an approved Schedule 1 research facility with DEA license No. RC0288058 to research and develop DEA Schedule 1 products. Our license is renewed annually. Our Phase I Specific Aims are as follows: (1) Establish optimum conditions for the selective SuperFluids¿ fractionation of Cannabis sativa to Isolate CBD with absolute purities >30% and < 0.3% ?9-THC; (2) Define SuperFluids¿ chromatographic purification conditions for the further purification of CBD with absolute purities >80% and < 0.3% ¿9-THC; and (3) Establish downstream chromatographic conditions for the final purification of CBD with absolute purities of CBD >98.5% and < 0.3% ?9-THC. Our Phase II Specific Aims are as follows: (4) Design cGMP processes for SuperFluids¿ CXP and segmentation chromatography of Cannabis sativa to produce standardized CW and pharmaceutical-grade CBD; (5) Modify extant SuperFluids¿ CXP Unit, construct segmentation chromatography systems and upgrade facility to manufacture standardized CW and pharmaceutical-grade CBD following cGMP; (6) Manufacture a minimum of 3 back-to-back large scale batches of CW and CBD following cGMP guidelines and document in batch records and product release; and (7) Document manufacturing process in a CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls) for IND applications to the FDA, and establish a Drug Master File (DMF) with the FDA. In Phase III, we will manufacture pharmaceutical-grade CBD for clinical evaluation by the NIH and other pharmaceutical companies, and standardized CW for use by medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts and other states. In order to avoid intra-state trafficking issues with the Federal government, we will sell small scale CXP manufacturing units, process conditions and supporting documentation for manufacturing standardized CW products to other state with medical marijuana dispensing laws. The legitimate use of marijuana for several medical indications has far outpaced the medical and clinical evaluation of marijuana and specific cannabinoids for different medical uses. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health convened an Ad Hoc Expert Panel to discuss current knowledge of the medical uses of Cannabis. The report discussed the importance of other cannabinoids and their potential interaction effects upon THC, stating: Varying proportions of other cannabinoids, mainly cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN), are also present in Cannabis, sometimes in quantities that might modify the pharmacology of THC or cause effects of their own. CBD is not psychoactive but has significant anticonvulsant, sedative, and other pharmacological activity likely to interact with THC. The Institute of Medicine (IOM, 1999) concluded that scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs, primarily ?9-THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation and clinical trials of cannabinoid drugs for symptom management should be conducted. We propose to manufacture pharmaceutical-grade CBD for clinical evaluation by the NIH and other pharmaceutical companies for Multiple Sclerosis and other CNS diseases, and a standardized Charlotte's Web (CW) product for use by medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts and other states for childhood epilepsy.