Zelda partners with St Vincent's Hospital on opioid reduction study

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Zelda Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) has announced a new clinical trial partnership with the St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne to examine the potential use of certain cannabinoid medications in patients on chronic, high dose opioid pain management therapy.

Prescription opioids are used to treat chronic pain and these drugs can have side effects including physical dependence.

Recent research, from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and UNSW Sydney, has shown a growing number of Australians receiving treatment for dependence on painkillers.

Zelda said the joint clinical trial program is aimed at assisting patients who have become dependent on opioids for chronic pain management.

The clinical team will be led by Associate Professor Yvonne Bonomo. It also includes Dr Jane Trinca, Professor David Castle and Dr Nigel Strauss.

An initial pharmacokinetic study will inform a small scale 20 patient double-blinded, randomised, placebo-controlled study, with the potential to expand into a larger trial depending on results.

The clinical trial protocols are being finalised and are expected to soon be lodged with the human ethics committee for review, said the company, adding the trial could be expected to start in early 2019.

Medication for the trial will be sourced from HAPA Medical, Zelda’s strategic partner for manufacture and supply of pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis.

Managing director Dr Richard Hopkins said,“Zelda is delighted to work with the team at St Vincent’s, which continues our partnership activities with world-class institutes across the globe. While similar studies have been conducted in other countries with promising results, we believe that local medical community participation in these studies will accelerate acceptance of the potential of cannabinoid-based medicines.”