In a CBD industry geared towards hype and proclaiming everything from tinctures to CBD-infused foods as the panacea to many common ailments, it’s challenging to separate the signal from the noise. That signal is clinically-proven results from formal roadmaps and studies into the efficacy of delivery pathways, dosages, and types of CBD treatments amid a background of misinformation.
For Layne Beal and Barbi Prusinski, it’s an opportunity to add medical legitimacy to a market largely driven by anecdotal evidence.
Their firm, Viridian Pharmaceuticals, is pioneering an innovative topical cream delivery method for efficiency transporting therapeutic molecules across the skin barrier that was only previously available with intrusive IV treatments. Drawing from extensive experience in R&D and clinical therapy in the biopharma market, Viridian is poised to offer the type of legitimacy that medical professionals are seeking in the crowded, convoluted CBD field.
From unique backgrounds, Beal and Prusinski form an unlikely pair in an emerging market.
An Unconventional Background
When you think pharmaceutical firms, big pharma, designer drugs, and an ongoing opioid epidemic come to mind. However, Beal and Prusinski are outsiders to the industry, focusing on making a positive impact with a market full of holistic treatment potential that is mired in regulatory ambiguity.
Their goal? Build a company that can make clinically-proven treatment available for every day, effective treatments across a variety of indications. But their backgrounds wouldn’t indicate a penchant for clinical innovation.
A self-proclaimed science nerd, Beal’s passion for tinkering led him down the path towards technology and networking in college, where he went on to work in network infrastructure and security as his first professional roles.
Soon enough, Beal, who is the CEO of Viridian, went on to risk management consulting, where he earned his stripes consulting for a Big 4 firm where he helped startups on their path to IPO.
“A circuitous route led me to take the leap and do something completely different,” details Beal. “Taking a new role as a CEO of a startup in an emerging industry with lots of inherent risks is difficult but I think my background, along with my passion for making a difference, will help our company grow and improve the science behind delivering the best products to provide relief that consumers desperately need — I’ve come full circle from those nerdy science roots.”
His counterpart, Prusinksi, shares a similar passion for making a positive impact in the industry and has a similarly unconventional background.
“Barbi’s story is probably much more interesting,” says Beal. “She may be the only female executive in our industry with a Super Bowl ring!”
Prusinksi, the Head of Operations at Viridian, formerly worked with several startups in the biotech industry, but only after she had spent over a dozen years working in the front offices of numerous professional sports franchises.
“Spending the bulk of my career at the San Francisco 49ers in roles from Football Operations to the coaching department, I learned from the best just what championship level standards are and what it is to build something bigger than yourself,” says Prusinski. “With technology that quickly delivers the CBD molecule through the skin, we know we’ve got something special and we are committed to bringing the most effective products with clinical validation and integrity to the market.”
Together, they are leading a highly talented and experienced team of doctors, researchers, legal experts, manufacturing partners, and pre-clinical providers in an industry ripe for regulatory formalization and innovative disruption. At the core of their efforts is Notion, Viridian’s proprietary topical cream for highly effective, natural CBD delivery using the skin as a portal.
An Effective Delivery Pathway
The CBD market is in its nascent stages, with only very early-stage regulatory structures forming around clinical evidence across some intriguing illnesses and psychological problems. Medical professionals are preaching the slow, tempered crawl of the clinical approach, as much of the industry is filled with misinformation or anecdotal takes on CBD’s effectiveness with the likes of CBD-infused foods.
“The science is evolving in the CBD space, and there aren’t a lot of specific dosing guidelines,” says Beal. “The only dosage guidelines really available are for Epidiolex, the first FDA-approved drug that contains CBD, which has led to significant misinformation on what are effective doses, and which delivery pathways are optimal for specific indications.”
Viridian’s efforts center on moving the needle forward from the formal clinical roadmap perspective and is why they are undertaking the ambitious task of exploring CBD’s efficacy within bioavailability and pharmacokinetic studies.
“We spent a significant amount of time learning from our in-home trial users about the amount of CBD that seems to have positive results for most,” says Beal. “Eventually, that led us to the CBD concentration in our first product, which is 750mg per 30mL jar — higher than most products on the market, and is dose/volume controlled.”
Each “pump” of the bottle, Beal cites, is equivalent to a single dose of approximately 15mg of CBD, which has received feedback of noticeable relief in symptoms from Viridian’s early target groups — patients suffering from severe joint pain and headaches. One of the critical collateral benefits of Viridian’s effective delivery pathway is the natural manner of its application, convenience, and price point.
“Our cost per milligram of CBD is roughly 16 cents, much lower than what many others are charging,” says Beal. “Couple that with Notion’s delivery system which gets CBD to its target quickly and lasts for hours, consumers are able to experience relief for less than $2.50 per application. For those experiencing pain, stress, or sleep deprivation, that’s money worth spending.”
Beal’s sentiment is reflected by some of the early R&D and clinical research studies of CBD treatments so far, which have revealed promise in ailments ranging from improvements in neurodegenerative diseases to relief for rheumatoid arthritis and schizophrenia. For their part, Viridian plans on expanding their pipeline beyond Notion and is focusing on discovering clinically-backed benefits for a host of other areas — like chronic migraines and osteoarthritis.
“We’re doing things the right way, with scientific rigor and testing, gathering data to inform our clinical and commercial decisions,” says Beal.
In an industry where CBD products are everywhere and basic dosage guidelines are not, Viridian’s approach is a refreshing take on a burgeoning market looking for medical acceptance and regulatory maturity. With an unconventional duo behind Viridian’s endeavors, the firm is positioned well to bring legitimate, therapeutic CBD options to the mainstream.
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