Zelda Therapeutics has engaged international experts to advise it on three experimental clinical trials it kicked off in humans over the past two years.

The medicinal cannabis drug developer (ASX:ZLD) launched clinical trials in patients with insomnia and opioid dependence last year, and undertook an observational study in Chilean children with autism in 2017.

It has now tapped the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) to support those clinical trial programmes.

The opioid dependence trial must first pass Human Research Ethics Committee guidelines, with Zelda saying submissions to the HREC will take place this quarter. Several patients have reportedly completed the insomnia trial “with no reports of significant adverse events”, while about a third of patients have been enrolled in the observational autism study taking place in the US.

Shares in Zelda rose 5 per cent to 6.1c on the news.

Zelda (ASX:ZLD) shares over the past year.

The company is particularly excited about working with Dr Ethan Russo, “a global leader in development of cannabis-based medicines”.

“We’re honoured to be working with the ICCI and Dr Ethan Russo, who are recognised globally as leading authorities on medicinal cannabis. Their insights will help inform and accelerate our clinical trial programmes,” Dr Richard Hopkins, Zelda MD, said.

“Dr Russo and the ICCI will complement our existing medical advisory team and maintains Zelda’s strategy of engaging the world’s best medicinal cannabis researchers and clinicians.”

Dr Russo said he was “delighted to be collaborating with Zelda who is at the forefront of efforts to develop plant-derived cannabis medicines that have the potential to improve quality of life for patients”.