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Images from the marijuana growing facility run by GB Sciences and the LSU AgCenter in south Baton Rouge

LSU and its medical marijuana partner GB Sciences have entered into an agreement for research and development under the university’s marijuana growing program.

The agreement, which was expected as part of LSU’s selection of GB Sciences through a competitive bid process, gives each party rights to “background intellectual property” during research and development projects, the company said Friday.

John Davis, president of GB Sciences Louisiana, said research at the marijuana growing facility could beget inventions like new strains of cannabis beneficial to certain medical conditions; new extraction processes; or genetic or DNA banks.

“More likely than not, LSU will be the inventor so their scientists will be listed as the inventor, then we will commercialize the invention,” Davis said, adding the intellectual property rights will be split on a case-by-case basis.

LSU has cited the potential for research in the marijuana space as a key reason it decided to opt-in as one of Louisiana’s two growers of medical marijuana. The other is Southern University, which is partnered with a private company to run its program, though that program is lagging behind LSU’s.

The LSU AgCenter said a copy of the agreement will have to go through the university's public records process, citing potentially confidential information. 

GB Sciences also said it is in early talks with Pennington Biomedical Research Center, LSU Health Sciences Centers in New Orleans and Shreveport, and “several prominent medical complexes” about opportunities for research collaboration, clinical trials and general patient care.

“We’ve gotten together in groups and we’re starting to discuss what would this look like, what direction do we want to go in,” Davis said, adding the talks have been preliminary. “Really the excitement came from the health care space to us.”

John Kirwan, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, said the center does work to find treatments for people suffering from chronic disease, and some research has shown that therapeutic cannabis may help those patients.

“While we’re interested in pursuing clinical trials in this area and excited about potential partnership opportunities with the LSU AgCenter, GB Sciences and our hospitals, it’s still so early in the process that we don’t have any details to share,” Kirwan said in a statement.

Davis said there are few companies focusing on the medical research component of the marijuana industry, making GB Sciences’ program unique. The company said its public-private partnership with LSU is a first for the industry.

GB Sciences is expected to have product available early next year, though the program has faced several delays stemming from regulatory issues.


Follow Sam Karlin on Twitter, @samkarlin.