Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT) shares are on the rise this morning after research from the University of Queensland showed that a synthetic cannabidiol formulation can kill so-called “superbugs”, or gram-negative bacteria.

CBD can destroy the bacteria responsible for gonorrhoea, meningitis and legionnaire’s disease, according to the Botanix-backed article published today in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology.

“Our results demonstrate that cannabidiol has excellent activity against biofilms, little propensity to induce resistance, and topical in vivo efficacy,” the article says.

“This is the first time CBD has been shown to kill some types of Gram-negative bacteria,” said Mark Blaskovich, director of the University of Queensland’s Centre for Superbug Solutions at its Institute for Molecular Bioscience.

“These bacteria have an extra outer membrane, an additional line of defence that makes it harder for antibiotics to penetrate.”

In Australia, gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection and there’s no longer a single antibiotic that can reliably treat it because the bacteria is so good at developing resistance.

Botanix owns the research data generated from the study and has applied for several patents on using synthetic cannabis as an antibiotic.

The company also said Wednesday that phase 2a antimicrobial study testing its BTX 1801 ointment to eradicate staph and MRSA from the nose of individuals known to carry these bacteria in their noses was complete, and it is due to announce data early this quarter.

At 10.56am, Botanix shares were up 3.7 per cent to 14c, and earlier had traded at 14.5c, matching a 15-month high reached last week.