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The University Of Mississippi Is The Sole Provider of Marijuana For Medical Research In The U.S

Apr 2, 2015 • 1:35 PM EDT
5 MIN READ  •  By Michael Berger
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Through a partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1968, the University of Mississippi has been the sole provider of marijuana for medical research. This past month, the university was awarded a $68.8 million contract to continue to grow marijuana and research its medical benefits.

Although, the government appears to be interested in researching the medical benefits of marijuana, scientists say that it has been difficult to secure the marijuana for research purposes. To get anything from the Ole Miss lab, a researcher must be approved by the DEA and in some cases, by a representative from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

How to obtain marijuana for research

To obtain research-grade marijuana through the NIDA drug supply program, all applicants must fulfill the following three requirements:

  1. Demonstrate scientific validity and ethical soundness through either:

          A) NIH funded projects through NIH review, or

          B)  A Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) scientific review panel

  1. An IND application on file with the FDA (for human research only); and
  2. A DEA registration for a Schedule I controlled substance.

After these steps have been completed, investigators then contact the NIDA Drug Supply Program to place an order for marijuana with specific THC concentrations. A program official will then verify that the application is complete and will then forward the order to the contractor responsible for shipping the marijuana.

One company has a partnership with the University of Mississippi

Nemus Bioscience Inc. (NMUS) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of cannabis-based therapeutics.  NMUS is the University of Mississippi’s sole partner focused on the development and commercialization of drugs developed from cannabinoids. This partnership provides NMUS with the opportunity to develop new cannabis-based treatments. If a treatment is approved, NMUS can also commercialize it.

Obviously a relationship like this does not come free. In late September, NMUS executed three license agreements with UM which set forth certain milestone and royalty payments. The agreement included a one-time upfront payment of $65,000 per license agreement, which is payable in four equal monthly installments that began on October 1, 2014. NMUS must pay also an annual fee of $25,000 per license agreement, which is payable on the anniversary of each effective date. The license agreements require NMUS to reimburse UM for patent costs related to the products under license, at a minimum of $70,000. The license agreements will terminate upon expiration of the patents, breach or default of the license agreements, or upon 60 days written notice by NMUS to UM.

Initially focused on Glaucoma

NMUS is focused on developing a cannabis based treatment for Glaucoma. More than 3 million people in the United States suffer from Glaucoma and it is the number one cause of blindness in the U.S.

In December, NMUS reported that the data presented at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) meeting showed that a pro-drug formulation of THC significantly lowered intra-ocular pressure (IOP) in an open-angle rabbit glaucoma model. The data was presented by Dr. Soumyajit Majumdar, an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics at the University of Mississippi.

The rabbits that received the THC pro-drug saw a greater percentage drop in IOP when compared to timolol, and an even greater percentage drop when compared to pilocarpine. The THC pro-drug resulted in an IOP lowering effect of 45%-50%.

Led by a strong management team with a proven track record

Nemus is led by CEO John Hollister. Mr. Hollister received his BA in Economics from Stanford University and his MBA from Claremont Graduate University. He brings over 25 years of leadership experience to NMUS ranging from senior leadership positions at big pharma firms to start-ups.  His experience includes all facets of the product lifecycle from pre-human to phase IV management and leading cross-functional teams.  He has experience leading multiple pharmaceutical product launches at companies such as SmithKline Beecham and at Amgen. Mr. Hollister also served as CEO for a device company, EEG Spectrum, and as Senior Vice President for a diagnostic company, Tethys Bioscience. 

Brian Murphy, MD, MPH, MBA is the company’s Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Murphy earned his MD, MPH, and MS degrees from New York Medical College and graduated from the Harvard School of Public Health. He earned his MBA at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Dr. Murphy has more than 15 years of experience in drug development and evaluation, from both an academic and industry perspective. He most recently served as the Chief Medical Officer of Eiger Biosciences. Previously, Dr. Murphy was Chief Medical Officer at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX). He also served as Medical Director, then Vice President of Marketing and Commercial Strategy of Hepatology for InterMune, Inc. (ITMN). Dr. Murphy is board-certified in internal medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Tufts-New England Medical Center and served as Chief Medical Resident in the Boston University program. Dr. Murphy went on to complete parallel fellowship tracks at Harvard Medical School, one in internal medicine/clinical epidemiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the other in medical ethics addressing issues of distributive justice and access to care.


Technical420 is favorable on the long term outlook of NMUS. If they want to capitalize on company initiatives they will need to raise capital by issuing more stock and that will cause dilution and result in a short term headwind. NMUS is led by one of the best management teams (in the cannabis sector) and we expect to see them lead the company to success.


Technical420 LLC is not a FINRA member firm. Technical420 LLC is responsible for the preparation and distribution of research created in the United States. Technical420 LLC is located at 40 SW 13th St. Suite 1002, Miami, FL 33130.

Technical 420 LLC, and any of its directors, officers, employees, affiliates, or subsidiaries does not accept any form of compensation from companies in return for writing reports on them. Also Technical 420 LLC, and any of its directors, officers, employees, affiliates, or subsidiaries do not hold any stock positions in companies covered by Technical420LLC.

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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners, LLC and Founder of Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Michael was an Equity Research Analyst at Raymond James Financial covering the Energy Sector. Michael has been featured in publications such as The Street, Bloomberg, US Money News, and hosts various cannabis events across North America.


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