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RLS bags $10M to trial dry powder inhaled CBD in anxiety

Investors have bought into Receptor Life Sciences’ vision of treating acute anxiety disorders using a dry powder inhaled cannabidiol (CBD). With $9.7 million in fresh funding, RLS is preparing to advance its RLS103 candidate through proof-of-concept clinical safety and efficacy studies.

Receptor is building a pipeline upon inhaled and oral drug delivery technologies that are designed to address the low absorption, poor bioavailability and inconsistent dosing that can affect CBD. Using the delivery systems, Receptor thinks it can address a range of disorders including performance anxiety and acute panic. The FDA recently accepted a filing to run a phase 1b clinical trial of RLS103.

Now, Receptor has raised funding to support its move into the clinic. Granite Point Capital stepped up to lead the financing, joining with Receptor’s existing investors to funnel $9.7 million into the company in a series A-1 financing.

“This financing provides the opportunity for RLS103 to potentially address multiple psychiatric and neurological disorder indications with significant unmet medical need with safe and effective therapies,” Receptor CEO Mark Theeuwes said in a statement.

The company is moving RLS103 into the clinic on the strength of evidence that it improves on the delivery of the oral CBD Epidiolex. In a pharmacokinetic clinical trial, Receptor linked RLS103 to a ninefold rise in bioavailability and 71-fold jump in peak concentration compared to the oral incumbent. Unlike when CBD is given orally, first-pass hepatic metabolites were “essentially absent” after administration of RLS103.

The performance is the product of combining CBD with FDKP, the excipient developed by MannKind to enable inhaled delivery. Receptor entered into a collaboration and license deal with MannKind to access the technology in 2016, committing up to $102 million in development and commercialization milestones to seal the deal.