Pascal Biosciences Identifies Molecules in Cannabis That Stimulate the Immune System to Destroy Tumor Cells

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, February 21, 2018 – Pascal Biosciences Inc. (TSX.V:PAS) (“Pascal” or the “Company”) today announced the Company has discovered certain cannabinoids that enhance the immunogenicity of tumor cells, rendering them more susceptible to recognition by the immune system. This discovery is important because the leading class of new cancer fighting agents, termed “checkpoint inhibitors”, activates the immune system to destroy cancer cells. Enhancing recognition of cancer cells with cannabinoids may greatly improve the efficacy of this drug class. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds which give the cannabis plant its medicinal properties with over 100 different cannabinoids identified. There is a growing body of research demonstrating the effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of cancer symptoms, including nausea, appetite enhancement, and pain management. However, Pascal is the first to identify a mechanism in which cannabinoids may provide a direct benefit in immunotherapy.

Tumor cells often arise in individuals, but they are usually recognized by the immune system and destroyed. The immune system identifies cells as either normal or dangerous in a process called immunosurveillance. Cells that have become cancerous are recognized by cytotoxic T cells, specialized immune cells that target and kill the tumor cell. However, some malignant cells, particularly metastatic cells, employ an immune escape strategy to subvert and avoid recognition and are not recognized and attacked by cytotoxic T cells. This allows the spread of tumor cells to other tissues, potentially leading to fatal disease.

Checkpoint inhibitors are recently approved drugs that activate the immune system to kill tumor cells. These drugs are commercially successful (Opdivo®, Keytruda®, and Yervoy® together had over $6B in 2017 sales) and more importantly, can cure patients with some types of cancer, but only a fraction of patients (generally less than half) respond to the drugs. There are currently many efforts to find drugs that will enhance the activity of checkpoint inhibitors, and Pascal has discovered cannabinoids that activate a key step for immune recognition.

University of British Columbia Professor Wilf Jefferies and his research team in the Michael Smith Laboratories and the Vancouver Prostate Centre, have developed a proprietary assay to discover compounds that can increase immune recognition of tumor cells. Dr. Jefferies, the scientific founder of Pascal, and his team screened thousands of natural products and subsequently identified certain cannabinoid molecules which have the greatest potency in their assay. While different cannabinoids show numerous biological and pharmacological effects, this is the first demonstration of immune activation by individual cannabinoids. Scientists from both UBC and Pascal have demonstrated that specific cannabinoids have strong potency on both mouse and human cancer cells.

“We are very excited about this novel discovery,” commented Dr. Patrick Gray, CEO of Pascal Biosciences. “Cannabinoids typically have good pharmacological properties, as most have low toxicity and are easily absorbed into the blood, which are great advantages for drug development. In combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors, cannabinoids may significantly improve cancer care. We look forward to soon translating our results into clinical studies.”

Pascal Biosciences, Inc. (PAS, formerly bioMmune Technologies Inc.) is a drug discovery and development company focused on harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The Company’s three significant technologies are:

  1. Utilizing proprietary screening systems for identifying novel compounds that are able to restore immune recognition and killing of cancer cells;
  2. Exploiting the regulation of specific calcium channels expressed by cells of the immune system. By regulating these calcium channels, immune activity can be controlled to combat cancers, infections and autoimmune diseases; and
  3. Developing a therapeutic monoclonal antibody for B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood leukemia, in collaboration with the University of New Mexico.

To learn more, visit:

On Behalf of the Board of Directors
Dr. Patrick W. Gray, President & CEO

 Company Contact:
Dr. Patrick Gray
Tel: 206-650-6765

Tel: 206-221-3443


Certain statements in this press release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 or forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation that may not be based on historical fact, including without limitation statements containing the words “believe”, “may”, “plan”, “will”, “estimate”, “continue”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect” and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements or information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, events or developments, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, events or developments express or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. Such factors include, among others, our stage of development, lack of any product revenues, additional capital requirements, risk associated with the completion of clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval to market our products, the ability to protect our intellectual property, dependence on collaborative partners and the prospects for negotiating additional corporate collaborations or licensing arrangements and their timing. Specifically, certain risks and uncertainties that could cause such actual events or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and information to differ materially from any future events or results expressed or implied by such statements and information include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties that: products that we develop may not succeed in preclinical or clinical trials, or future products in our targeted corporate objectives; our future operating results are uncertain and likely to fluctuate; we may not be able to raise additional capital; we may not be successful in establishing additional corporate collaborations or licensing arrangements; we may not be able to establish marketing and the costs of launching our products may be greater than anticipated; we have no experience in commercial manufacturing; we may face unknown risks related to intellectual property matters; we face increased competition from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; and other factors as described in detail in our filings with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities at Given these risks and uncertainties, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements and information, which are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. All forward-looking statements and information made herein are based on our current expectations and we undertake no obligation to revise or update such forward- looking statements and information to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.

“Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release”