A Budding New Lab
March 5, 2019
For 50 years, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) has been a hub of cannabis research. “All eyes are on Israel for cannabis research,” said Yotam Hod, CEO of the Lumir Lab, a new laboratory located in the Biotechnology Park at the Hebrew University’s Ein Kerem campus.
The Lumir Lab is developing a revolutionary cannabis-based treatment for endometriosis. Israeli firm Asana Bio Group Ltd. has invested $2.3 million in the lab.
Professor Lumir Hanus, a pioneer in cannabis research, will head the scientific team at the Lumir Lab. For the last 30 years, he has worked at HU alongside 88-year-old Professor Raphael Mechoulam, who isolated the psychoactive component of cannabis in 1964 and is considered the founder of the field. The Lumir Lab highlights the two scientists’ accomplishments over decades at the Hebrew University.
“We have been flooded with demand from pharmaceutical companies in legal cannabis markets around the world,” said Mr. Hod.
The lab has begun preclinical trials for the treatment of endometriosis, a condition which affects 180 million women worldwide. Studies have shown that cannabinoids are effective in alleviating symptoms of the disease. The lab is working with Gynica, an Israeli research and development company focused on cannabis-based women’s health products.
Mr. Hod said it could take two years to have sufficient data to put a clinically-valid product on the market. Although the lab is a private company, he expects to collaborate with the Hebrew University in the near future.
Because cannabis is illegal under federal law in the United States, scientific inquiry at U.S. universities is limited.
“The regulatory framework in Israel and our expertise are drawing attention to our lab from companies worldwide,” Mr. Hod said.