Dr. Andrea Small-Howard leverages broad biopharmaceutical industry knowledge and contacts in her current dual roles as the Chief Science Officer and member of the Board of Directors at GB Sciences, Inc. (OTCQB:GBLX). Dr. Small-Howard has more than 15 years’ experience studying cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, immunology and cancer treatments; as well as executive experience in the biopharmaceutical industry where she supervised research and development, manufacturing and quality control divisions in the US and global divisions. She took the lead in obtaining regulatory approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“US FDA”) and numerous international regulatory agencies; and she has assisted multiple state jurisdictions in developing medical cannabis regulations. Dr. Small-Howard brings to GB Sciences her passion for advancing clinical research on medicinal applications of cannabinoid compounds, pre-clinical experience in conducting cannabinoid research, a track record of successes in the management of biopharmaceutical companies, and a strategic vision for creating a novel drug discovery engine and biopharmaceutical drug development program for disease-specific, cannabis-based therapeutics.
Dr. Small-Howard received her AB from Occidental College (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa), in addition to receiving both an MBA (Beta Gamma Sigma) and a PhD (USC All-University Merit Fellow) in biological sciences from USC. As a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Small-Howard led a project group dedicated to the study of cannabinoids in the immune system and published peer-reviewed papers on the subject. Dr. Small-Howard has held management positions at AMDL, Inc. (a small public biotech company), where she took the lead in every stage of product development from discovery through commercialization. As VP of Scientific Oversight at Radient Pharmaceuticals Corp. (RPC), she provided strategic product development and regulatory oversight across multiple international business divisions. At RPC, she also played an active role in creating collaboration agreements with development partners and research institutions, and she contributed to critical licensing and distribution agreements. For a four-year term, she served on the Board of Directors for the Center for Healthcare Innovation, a nonprofit, non-partisan, and independent organization based in Chicago that is committed to serving as a catalyst for stimulating ideas, people, companies, and institutions to collaborate and achieve excellence in healthcare innovation. In 2011, Dr. Small-Howard founded International Biotechnology Solutions to provide management consulting for early stage biotechnology companies.
Because of their role in nociception, Transient Receptor Superfamily (“TRP”) channels have been identified as targets for treating pain disorders. Both antagonism and agonism of the TRP channel have been exploited for pain management. Since complex plant derived mixtures of cannabinoids and the cannabis component myrcene have been regarded as pain therapeutics, we tested the hypothesis that myrcene by itself, or in combination with other cannabis-derived compounds, may act at TRPV1 and cause receptor desensitization. The inducible expression of TRPV1 in a non-TRPV1 containing cell type confers capsaicin-sensitive calcium flux responses. Terpenes contribute significantly and differentially to calcium fluxes via TRPV1 induced by Cannabis-derived mixtures of cannabinoids and terpenoids. Myrcene contributes significantly to TRPV1-mediated calcium responses seen with terpenoid mixtures, and this signal depends on the presence of the TRPV1 ion channel. Myrcene-induced calcium influx responses are inhibited by a specific pharmacological inhibitor of the TRPV1 ion channel. Finally, electrophysiological measurements of current development and current-voltage relationships for TRPV1 were carried out in a whole cell configuration. The comparative desensitization patterns for TRPV1 currents initiated by capsaicin versus myrcene show that myrcene is an effective desensitizer of TRPV1 on repeated activation. These data establish TRPV1 as a direct target of myrcene and suggest the therapeutic potential of analgesic formulations containing myrcene.