Berlin, October 5th, 2021 – Sanity Group, a health and life-science company focused on natural compounds and cannabinoids, and an international team of scientists are now jointly developing pharmaceuticals for the treatment of neuropsychiatric and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia or anxiety disorders. This collaboration is based on the systematic research and targeting of the body’s endocannabinoid system. The newly founded company, Endosane Pharmaceuticals GmbH (www.endosane.com), will build on decades worth of research by the scientists involved while resuming advanced clinical trials (Phase II) with a potential schizophrenia drug.
By founding Endosane Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Sanity Group successfully implements another of its visions: Fueled by the successful financing round in summer of 2021, the Berlin-based company is joining one of the world’s leading research and development projects for finished pharmaceuticals specifically targeting the endocannabinoid system for therapeutic use. Endosane’s development pipeline already contains several psychiatric drugs for the treatment of neuropsychiatric and psychiatric disorders, in particular schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Developments around schizophrenia are the most advanced. With Phase II studies already completed and two ongoing, approval is forecasted for as early as 2025.
Decades of research by a renowned team of scientific experts
The scientific basis for Endosane is laid in years of research by an international team led by the renowned German neurologist and psychiatrist Prof. Dr. F. Markus Leweke (University of Sydney). Prior to his current engagement, Prof. Leweke led the Center of Excellence for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Research at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim at the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg, where he and his research group are still scientifically active today. As early as the mid-1990s, Prof. Leweke started to engage in the systematic research of the endocannabinoid system and its role and therapeutic potential in psychiatric disorders.
In collaboration with Dr. Cathrin Rohleder, a neurobiologist and long-time colleague, he collected data indicating a clear connection between various psychiatric disorders and the endocannabinoid system. Based hereon, the possibility of drug treatment for selected indications – especially schizophrenia- began. While most conventional psychiatric drugs primarily target the “visible” symptoms of psychiatric disorders, this treatment aims to readjust the endocannabinoid system disturbed in many symptomatic patients.. “Figuratively speaking, we are treating these disorders, i.e. schizophrenia in particular, much closer to the cause than current drugs,” says Prof. Dr. Leweke. Even more important, according to Prof. Leweke, is that such use of the endocannabinoid system would be a much “gentler” intervention in the molecular neurobiology of patients than currently available drugs. “If the clinical data collected so far is confirmed in the further course of phases II and III, we would be in a position to offer a drug with a significantly improved side effect profile,” said Dr. Rohleder, who is coordinating the clinical development. “This would be a huge step in quality of life for affected individuals.”
Endosane is a key building block in realizing Sanity Group vision
Sanity Group’s approach to systematically exploit the potential of the endocannabinoid system always included the development of finished drugs. Therefore, the set-up of Endosane fits perfectly into Sanity Group’s vision to improve people’s quality of life through the use of cannabis and the utilization of the endocannabinoid system. Sanity Group already develops and distributes medical cannabis in various pharmaceutical forms; in addition, the company offers over-the-counter cannabinoid-based consumer goods such as CBD oils and cosmetics. “Our goal is to explore and harness the full potential of the endocannabinoid system. We are glad to have found partners in Prof. Dr. Leweke, Dr. Rohleder and their team with whom we can realize our long-term vision also with regard to the development of finished drugs in the field of psychiatric drugs,” said Finn Hänsel and Fabian Friede, founders and managing directors of Sanity Group.
Combination of scientific excellence with the agility and mindset of a start-up company
In addition to the scientific management of the company, which is comprised of Prof. Dr. Leweke as Chief Medical Officer and Dr. Rohleder as Chief Scientific Officer, Max Narr completes the Endosane management team as Managing Director coming from Sanity Group. Narr is a fully qualified lawyer from the pharmaceutical and biotech practice of an international law firm. He subsequently assumed management roles in a public German medium-sized chemical company, where he was responsible for strategy and M&A. Before joining Sanity Group, he was in charge of restructuring a company delivering into the pharmaceutical supply chain and integrating it into a larger group. Narr joined Sanity Group in October 2020 and has been responsible for the new business and strategy. In this role, he finished the development of the concept of Endosane together with Prof. Leweke and Dr. Rohleder. “Dr. Rohleder, Prof. Leweke and I quickly realized that our prior experiences and skill sets complement each other very well. With Endosane, we have a huge opportunity to not only be commercially very successful, but to directly help people who are currently suffering the burden of serious adverse effects of their medication,” said Narr. To be able to meet the immense challenge of pharmaceutical development, Endosane will, in the future, draw on the infrastructure and expertise of Sanity Group. In addition, Endosane’s management is supported by an experienced advisory board, which includes members from academia as well as seasoned industry leaders.
About the Sanity Group
Sanity Group has set itself the goal of improving the quality of life of people through the sensible use of cannabinoids and the use of the endocannabinoid system. In addition to pharmaceuticals, it also focuses on wellbeing and cosmetic products based on cannabinoids. In parallel, Sanity Group is working and researching new medical products, innovative dosage forms as well as technological products and services to further develop the infrastructure. Sanity Group was founded in 2018 by Finn Age Hänsel and Fabian Friede and now employs a team of over 100 people at its headquarters in Berlin-Mitte and its research site near Frankfurt am Main. Sanity Group brands include Vayamed (pharmaceuticals), VAAY (CBD products) and This Place (functional cosmetics). More information at www.sanitygroup.com.
About Prof. Dr. F. Markus Leweke
Prof. Dr. Leweke is Professor at the University of Sydney and Chair in Youth Depression Studies at the Brain and Mind Centre. For many years he was Head of the Center of Excellence for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Research, Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg. As a practicing psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Prof. Dr. Leweke has over 25 years of experience in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. In the mid-1990s, he was one of the first to engage in research on the endocannabinoid system and its role and therapeutic potential in psychiatric disorders. He is an Associate Editor of the scientific journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.