Man dies after drugs trial in France

A man died in a French hospital yesterday after taking part in a drug trial for a painkiller based on a compound similar to cannabis.

The Rennes University Hospital announced the death in a statement but did not identify the patient, who had already been in a state of brain death.

He was among six male volunteers between 28 and 49 hospitalised last week after volunteering to take the experimental drug.

French health authorities said three of the hospitalised volunteers face possible brain damage and an investigation is under way into what French health minister Marisol Touraine called “an accident of exceptional gravity”.

The trial, which began on January 7, involved 90 healthy volunteers who were given the experimental drug in varying doses at different times. The hospital said it has contacted the 84 other volunteers exposed to the new painkiller.

10 of those volunteers underwent medical exams on Saturday but the hospital found no anomalies, the statement says. It said another five will have medical exams closer to their homes.

The drug, based on a natural brain compound similar to the active ingredient in marijuana, was given orally to healthy volunteers as part of a phase one trial by Biotrial, a drug evaluation company based in Rennes, on behalf of the Portuguese pharmaceutical company Bial.

In addition to treating pain, the drug was intended to ease mood and anxiety troubles as well as motor problems linked to neurodegenerative illnesses by acting on the endocannabinoid system. In this system, natural brain compounds act on specific receptors to exert their effects.

It is rare for volunteers to fall seriously ill during phase one trials, which study safe usage, side effects, and other measures on healthy volunteers.


Four graduates tell Siobhan Howe how their fine art degree has influenced their approach to their working life.What use is a degree in fine art? Four graduates answer the question

Terry Gilliam tells Esther McCarthy about the mystery woman who helped him to finally get his Don Quixote film made after 30 yearsTerry Gilliam: Back in the saddle again

Twitch will no longer be the home of esports for Call of Duty, Overwatch and Hearthstone, with those games (and more) going to YouTube instead.Violence in the stream: Big changes for esports

That may say more about how the media treats flaws and beauty than it says about Alicia Keys herself, but nevertheless, it was refreshing at the time to see someone say no to the Hollywood expectations of beauty.The Skin Nerd: Unlocking Alicia Keys’ secrets to gorgeous skin

More From The Irish Examiner