Katexco is a second-generation pharmaceutical cannabis company targeting autoimmune diseases by a variety of approaches, including utilizing CBD or related compounds, or CB2 agonists. The company will be targeting multi-billion-dollar markets of multiple sclerosis, gastrointestinal disorders, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and atherosclerosis, also involving new products.

Katexco was Founded by Prof Lawrence Steinman and Dr Jonathan Rothbard, who in Stanford developed over 26 medical research manuscripts together over the course of their careers and both of which have immense immunological therapy expertise. Prof Steinman’s research in his laboratory led to the development of the blockbuster drug Tysabri® (natalizumab), which is considered the most effective treatment for patients with multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. Moreover, the company’s Co-Founder, Prof Sir Marc Feldmann, discovered one of the most important discoveries of modern science and medicine, anti-TNF therapy (the largest selling drug class globally) to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and many more.

Katexco is leveraging their pioneering experience in immunology to research and create orally active and available anti-inflammatory medicines.

Currently Katexco is in a research partnership with Evotec. This is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists.

Katexco Pharma has also licensed a series of patents held by Stanford University based on our work demonstrating small heat shock proteins and amyloid fibrils composed of hexapeptides bind α7 NAChR and stimulate an immunosuppressive cascade capable of reversing the paralytic signs of animal models of multiple sclerosis, retinal and cardiac ischemia, and stroke. The near-term strategy is to patent a variant of a known α7 NAChR specific, orally available, agonist, giving Katexco a significantly longer patent protection than licensing a pre-existent agonist.


Several pharmaceuticals companies tried developing oral, α7 specific, α7 NAChR agonists that could treat neurological disease including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia.

The clinical trials failed, but Katexco is using the results of these trials to design new drugs with help of Evotec. To target a variant of this receptor found on immune cells.

The Katexco team identified a key receptor for the amyloid proteins associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. The receptor is called alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7 NAChR). This receptor - α7 NAChR - is found on key cells of the immune system. Dr Rothbard and Prof Steinman showed that small molecules available as drugs taken by mouth can engage this receptor on immune cells and then potently reduce inflammatory diseases. They have shown that this receptor is critical in reducing diseaseanimal models of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as heart attack and stroke. An important Insight was that this receptor activates a biochemical signalling pathway within immune cells that is shared with cannabinoids (CBD), the critical ingredient in Marijuana and purified derivatives of this plant. Thus, Katexco’s technology can amplify and optimize the synergistic effects of orally available combinations of cannabinoids and α7 NAChR agonists, when given in a prescribed regimen. Katexco plans to develop molecules that engage α7 NAChR and thereby activate common aspects of these two key anti-inflammatory receptor systems - α7 NAChR and CBR for treatment of various diseases.


The identified agonists activate the body’s natural systems. They are therefore expected to be safer than existing anti-inflammatory treatments such as NSAIDs, Cox2 inhibitors, and methotrexate. Unlike previous drugs developed for α7 NAChR, the Katexco compound does not have to cross blood-brain barrier. This means that the suitable compound would be:

  • Orally available
  • Systematically distributed

Katexco’s research could lead to treatments for a host of diseases with large markets for potentially safe and effective remedies.


The market for treating gastrointestinal disorders was worth $59.98B USD in 2018, and is expected to rise to $92.25B USD in 2025 at a CAGR of 6.6%.

The market for treating multiple sclerosis was worth $22.85B USD in 2018, and is expected to rise to $27.38B USD at a CAGR of 6.3%.

The market for treating gout was worth $2.8B USD in 2018, and is expected to rise to $7.9B USD in 2025 at a CAGR of 16%.