Preclinical data show remyelination with the clinical-stage drug product candidate, EHP-101

SAN DIEGO, CA, July 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. (EHP), a clinical-stage company developing medicines based on cannabinoid science, presented preclinical data on its clinical-stage lead drug product candidate, EHP-101, at the 29th Annual Symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) in Bethesda, MD, USA, demonstrating its remyelination activity, or the ability to repair the nerves damaged in a multiple sclerosis (MS) murine model.

The data showcased the first report demonstrating that EHP-101, an oral formulation of a patented cannabidiol (CBD)-derived new chemical entity (NCE), VCE-004.8, not only prevents neuroinflammation and demyelination, but also induces remyelination in murine models, thus representing a promising drug candidate for the potential treatment of different forms of MS. The data were reported in a poster titled “Effects of EHP-101 on inflammation and remyelination in murine models of multiple sclerosis” by Navarrete et al.

“Restoring the myelin sheath around nerves, or remyelination, would be considered a ‘Holy Grail’ outcome in the treatment of MS,” said Jim DeMesa, MD, CEO of Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals. “Our new data demonstrate that EHP-101 can generate new myelin sheaths on the nerves damaged by MS, which is not reversible naturally in the disease. These preclinical data provide the first evidence of remyelination with our lead clinical-stage drug product candidate and provide promising evidence for the possibility to treat, and potentially reverse, several forms of MS in the future.”

The remyelination activity of EHP-101 was evaluated in a murine model of demyelination (induced by administration of a demyelinating agent, cuprizone). After 6 weeks, the cuprizone produced a significant loss of myelin in the mouse brain. Thereafter, spontaneous recovery from demyelination was negligible for 1 and 2 weeks but remyelination was significantly accelerated following oral treatment with EHP-101. Additionally, EHP-101 alleviated cuprizone-induced neuroinflammation.

In two additional MS models, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and Theiler's murine encephalitis virus-induced (TMEV) demyelinating models, EHP-101 prevented neuroinflammation and demyelination in both the spinal cord and brain, providing an additional indication that it could be a potential treatment for stopping the progression of MS.

EHP is conducting a Phase I human study of EHP-101 to support its development for multiple sclerosis and systemic scleroderma, with initiation of Phase II studies expected to start by the end of 2019.

About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory and demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system affecting 2.3 million people worldwide. Myelin is a sheath around nerves that aids in conducting nerve impulses. Demyelination is a breakdown of this sheath. It is not reversible naturally or through existing drugs. As MS progresses, it affects muscles, nerves, and joints, causing pain, spasms, stiffness, tremors, body mobility limitations and weakness, difficulty chewing or swallowing, in addition to speech difficulties.

Currently, there are several approved drugs on the market for MS, all of which are primarily for the relief of symptoms and none are disease-modifying or curative. Preclinical data suggest that EHP-101 has the potential to be neuroprotective, neurodegenerative and disease-modifying.

About Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals is developing product candidates derived from cannabinoids for the treatment of CNS, autoimmune, and other diseases. The Company has two families of new chemical entities, derived from synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), that it has modified through rational drug design to affect validated receptors and pathways pertinent to targeted diseases. Its first drug product candidate, EHP-101, is in Phase I clinical development and is focused on treating multiple sclerosis and systemic scleroderma. Its second, EHP-102, is in preclinical development and is focused on treating Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals is part of the Emerald Group, which comprises multiple companies focused on developing pharmaceutical, botanical, and nutraceutical products providing wellness and medical benefits by interacting with the human body’s endocannabinoid system.

For more information, visit http://www.emeraldpharma.life or contact: info@emeraldpharma.life.

*  *  *

To the extent statements contained in this news release are not descriptions of historical facts regarding Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals Inc. they should be considered "forward-looking statements," as described in the private securities litigation reform act of 1995, that reflect management's current beliefs and expectations. You can identify forward-looking statements by words such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "goal," "hope," "hypothesis," "intend," "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "should," "strategy," "will," "would," or the negative of those terms, and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: (i) the success and timing of our product development activities and clinical trials; (ii) our ability to develop our product candidates; (iii) our plans to research, discover, evaluate and develop additional potential product, technology and business candidates and opportunities; (iv) the anticipated timing of clinical data availability; (v) our ability to meet our milestones; and (vi) our expectations regarding our ability to obtain and maintain intellectual property protection. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown factors, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. Emerald Health Pharmaceuticals' investigational drug products have not been approved or cleared by the FDA.