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GreenLight Medicines – novel plant-based medicines

GreenLight Medicines is focussed on developing novel plant-based medicines to provide relief from serious medical conditions and improve existing treatment options

The company’s vision is to become the world leader in plant-based medicines and deliver safe and cost effective medicines that change lives.

Founded in 2014, GreenLight Medicines is a biopharmaceutical company focused on researching, developing and licensing molecules from proprietary plant-based formulations to target a range of chronic diseases.

GreenLight Medicines’ extracts and tests the biological effects of plant-derived molecules from proprietary strains. Their intellectual property portfolio is based on proprietary blends of compounds, novel plant oil extraction processes, cultivation technologies and drug delivery systems.

Creating awareness and building markets

GreenLight Medicines will strive to create awareness within the health sector, develop environmentally friendly, sustainable medicines, while increasing shareholder value by developing new markets for their medicines.

Therapeutics research programmes

GreenLight Medicines’ current therapeutic research and development programmes are based across 4 research intensive universities in Ireland and UK. They have carefully selected the very best academic and clinical researchers for the 3 core disease themes they research- oncology, neurology and inflammatory and immune related conditions. These are shown in the illustration of their research pipeline.

GreenLight Medicines have also established a plant-breeding programme to optimize proprietary strains with synergistic compound ratios for standardised pharmaceutical effects. They will open a dedicated laboratory in 2019 to purify and screen compound mixtures, prior to pre-clinical testing in each research programme.

To date they have been successfully awarded 7 grants from Irish and U.K. funding agencies to leverage their own research investment across the 9 research programmes illustrated above. The total investment in research including co-funder contributions is € 3.26 million to date. The following sections provide a brief descriptor of active research programmes:


Ireland’s leading cancer research institution, University College Dublin (UCD), will host an ambitious project to screen multiple plant derived compounds across a range of cancers including prostate, breast and ovarian. This project is co-funded by the Irish Research Council.


The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland spearhead a large project to elucidate the role of cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system in refractory epilepsy. Science Foundation Ireland is co-funding this project, which is also supported by Neuroscience Ireland.

Addiction and Alzheimer’s

GreenLight Medicines have a non-profit research arm dedicated to researching addiction and mental health. Psychoactive compounds (from cannabis and other plants) are being tested at UCD for their ability to reverse damage that leads to mental health and addiction issues. This programme is co-funded by the Irish Research Council and charitable donations with support from public figures affected by such issues.

A research programme also at UCD will investigate if plant-based compounds could alleviate neuroinflammatory changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Inflammatory Disease

Ulster University hosts an ex vivo model of arthritis which allows us to test the effects of plant-derived compounds on immune and nervous system cells. This project is designed to provide pre-clinical evidence of compound efficacy against immune mediated inflammation and pain and is co-funded by the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland.

A strategically aligned research programme at UCD will examine therapeutic potential of plant compounds upon diminished mental health as a result of chronic inflammation (within an arthritis model). The Irish Research Council is co-funding this project. Furthermore, an expert group at UCD who have established an inflammatory eye disease research platform will host an ophthalmology research programme, which will methodically assess the therapeutic efficacy of plant-based compounds.

In autumn of 2019, GreenLight will begin a research programme at Ulster University which will investigate the endocannabinoid receptor system of the pancreas, as a potential target to induce anti-diabetic pathways. This programme also incorporates a pilot in human nutritional trial.

Plant Technology

GreenLight Medicines have partnered with one of Europe’s leading plant breeders and have commenced a research programme at UCD to develop fast-breeding and compound specific strains which can provide consistent pharmacological effects. They are also working with UCD to develop proprietary genetic variants.


By mid-2019 GreenLight will establish an analytical chemistry suite within UCD to develop novel extraction technologies that are both efficient and scalable. Importantly they will also be able to accurately determine the compound ratios of plant materials and extracts. To achieve this they have dedicated chemists with experience in large-scale isolation and identification of plant-based compounds.

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