As stay-at-home orders ease, Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc. (TSX-V: TBP) said it can resume a clinical trial in New Brunswick that is testing whether cannabis derivatives can treat eye conditions in pets.
On Monday, the Ontario-based company said its subsidiary received approval from Health Canada’s Veternary Drugs Directorate arm to continue the study.
Under Tetra’s subsidiary, Panag Pharma, a team of veterinary eye specialists have been working since May 2019 to clinically test if its PPP003 ophthalmic drug can effectively treat pets suffering from corneal ulcers, which are open sores on the eye’s surface.
When a stay-at-home order was issued by the New Brunswick government March 19, owners couldn’t bring in their pets for the trial.
The researchers were originally aiming to complete enrollment for the study by May 1, but the delays pushed back the completion date.
Tetra said it received a one-year extension for its experimental studies certificate, which is valid for one year only under Canada’s veterinary drug regulations.
“These measures had only a minor impact on the PPP003 ophthalmic operations compared to the significant public health benefit,” CEO Guy Chamberland said in a statement. “We are glad that the participants and support staff involved in the trial are healthy and safe and that we can now initiate re-activation of the trial.”
Tetra said after the first halting of the study, half of the subjects had completed the treatment and follow-up phase of the trial with no reports of adverse effects. Enrollment for the remaining half of the subjects can start once veterinary clinics are open to the public.
#DYK that 1 in 7 Canadians will develop a serious eye disease in their lifetime. May is #VisionHealthMonth, a time to raise awareness about eye health and ways to prevent vision loss. Tetra is developing cannabinoid-based medicines to address painful #dryeye and #uveitis pain. pic.twitter.com/jWHDUHlhR3
— Tetra Bio-Pharma (@TetraBioPharma) May 11, 2020
Chamberland noted that the PPP003 cannabis-based drug uses the same active pharmaceutical ingredient that is also currently being developed to test on managing cytokine release syndrome, an inflammatory condition characterized by fever and multiple organ dysfunction in humans.
However, the pet formula is a completely different experimental medication because it’s intended to be used as an eye drop, the CEO said.
Tetra says the cannabis drug has shown the ability to reduce anti-inflammatory cytokines, which are secreted by white blood cells as part of the human immune response, as well as decrease acute and chronic eye conditions in humans.
The company also said Monday it has applied for Canadian federal government funding to see if the PPP003 drug can treat certain symptoms of COVID-19.
Tetra is currently developing six cannabis-derived drugs, according to its website.
Top image via Deposit Photos