GW Metabolic Research Laboratory

GW has formed an exclusive strategic alliance with Professor Mike Cawthorne and the Clore Laboratory, University of Buckingham, focusing on the research of cannabinoids, and other phytomedicines, in the field of type 2 diabetes and metabolic disease. A dedicated section of the Clore Laboratory has been named the “GW Metabolic Research Laboratory”.

The principal objectives of this strategic alliance are as follows:


  • to provide GW with a dedicated facility for undertaking pre-clinical pharmacologic studies of cannabinoids in the area of metabolic disease
  • to provide GW with exclusive access to plant-based therapies under evaluation at the Clore Laboratory
  • to support the pharmaceutical development of new GW cannabinoid medicines to address defined aspects of the metabolic syndrome
  • to provide expert advice to GW, through Professor Cawthorne, in the metabolic disease area


GW’s Cannabinoid Research in Diabetes and Metabolic Disease

GW has carried out pre-clinical research on its cannabinoids in several models of type 2 diabetes. Results of this research show desirable effects on plasma insulin, leptin and adiponectin levels, hormones of particular relevance to the development and treatment of diabetes. In addition, these results have shown a reduction in total cholesterol with an increase in the proportion of HDL (good) cholesterol.


GW’s two leading cannabinoid candidates in this field are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has shown potential beneficial effects in hypercholesterolaemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, while THCV has shown desirable effects notably in raising energy expenditure. Exploration of the effects of these two cannabinoids in combination confirms that a number of the components of the metabolic syndrome can potentially be addressed with a single medicine.


Both THCV and CBD have now successfully been the subject of Phase I clinical trials. GW is preparing to advance a combined THCV:CBD drug candidate into a Phase IIa multiple dose study in the treatment of dyslipidaemia and fatty liver in Type II diabetic patients.


Professor Mike Cawthorne BSc (Hons), PhD, CBiol, FIBiol

Professor Cawthorne is Director of Metabolic Research at the Clore Laboratory, University of Buckingham, where he leads a group of 15 researchers seeking new molecular targets and evaluating pioneering therapies for obesity and type 2 diabetes. From 1968 to 1994, Professor Cawthorne was at Beecham and SmithKline Beecham latterly as Group Director for diabetes and obesity research. Apart from leading the research team that discovered the billion dollar insulin sensitiser drug rosiglitazone, he led the biological research that identified the b3-adrenoceptor as a potential molecular target for thermogenesis and type 2 diabetes. Professor Cawthorne has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, is a past Chairman of the Association for the Study of Obesity, was founding secretary of the International Association for the Study of Obesity and received the 2001 award for drug discovery from the Society of Medicines research for the discovery and development of rosiglitazone.


The Clore Laboratory

The Clore Laboratory was established at the University of Buckingham in 1986 and is an internationally recognised metabolic research group. Under its present Director, Professor Mike Cawthorne, its aim is to undertake preclinical studies from the gene level through to whole body physiology to define new molecular targets for the treatment of diabetes, obesity and metabolic disease and to design and evaluate pioneering therapeutics.


the clore laboratories


The University of Buckingham was founded in 1976 as an independent University and does not rely on Government funding. It has voluntarily submitted itself to audit by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and has come top of the National Student Survey in 2006, 2007 and 2008.