NEW YORK, March 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage
The cannabis industry has swiftly turned into a multi-billion dollar opportunity. In the United States, this market's massive growth potential is being recognized as new states legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use. Industry experts forecast the U.S. cannabis market rounding $7 billion in 2016, while the annual sale of state-legal cannabis products is forecast to exceed $20 billion by 2020. Within this flourishing market, cannabis-pharma companies like India Globalization Capital (NYSE: IGC) (IGC Profile), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp. (OTC:OWCP), Insys Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY) and GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH) are carving lanes of unprecedented opportunities in the medical field.
Bethesda, Maryland-based India Globalization Capital (NYSE: IGC) (IGC Profile) is advancing the development of cannabis-based therapies targeting large market conditions and illnesses. IGC is on a mission to treat chronic and terminal neurological and oncological diagnoses and other life altering conditions utilizing an exciting and specialized IP platform that formulates and tests combination therapies. With this special focus in mind, IGC has amassed a portfolio of patent filings covering the indications of pain, medical refractory epilepsy and cachexia (cancer-induced anorexia) using cannabinoids. As we will further discuss later, IGC has established an approach that significantly differentiates the company from its cannabis-pharma peers.
Like IGC, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ZYNE) is dedicated to the development of innovative cannabinoid treatments that target seizures and pain. Unlike IGC and Cannabics, this clinical-stage, specialty pharmaceutical company is concentrating on developing transdermal synthetic cannabinoid treatments. On March 13, 2017, the company announced that it had completed enrolling patients for Phase 2 of its STAR 1 (Synthetic Transdermal Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Epilepsy) clinical trial evaluating ZYN002 cannabidiol (CBD) gel in adult epilepsy patients with refractory focal seizures. Zynerba also revealed that it had completed enrollment for its Phase 2 STOP (Synthetic Transdermal Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Knee Pain due to Osteoarthritis) clinical trial evaluating ZYN002 CBD gel for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
OWC Pharmaceutical (OTCQB:OWCP), through its wholly owned One Word Cannabis Ltd. Israeli subsidiary, is focused on conducting medical research and pursuing clinical trials to develop cannabis-based pharmaceuticals and treatments for a variety of conditions. The company is developing two unique delivery systems to effectively dose and deliver medical cannabis. The first is a proprietary, cannabinoid-enriched sublingual tablet for the treatment of multiple myeloma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia. In in-vitro testing, the tablets demonstrated 100% malignant cell death in 60% of infected mice cells. The second product is a proprietary topical compound for the treatment of psoriasis. In addition, OWC Pharmaceutical operates a Consulting Division created to help governments and companies navigate complex international cannabis regulatory frameworks.
Another industry peer, Insys Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY), is developing medications to treat addiction to opioids, opioid overdose, epilepsy and other disease areas with high unmet need. The commercial-stage company uses proprietary sublingual spray technology to develop pharmaceutical cannabinoids to address clinical shortcomings of products already on the market. Insys currently markets its FDA-approved SUBSYS® (fentanyl sublingual spray) for pain management in cancer patients who are tolerant to opioid therapy. The company has also received approval for Syndros™ for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, as well anorexia associated with weight loss in persons with AIDS. Syndros is an orally administered liquid formulation of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid dronabinol, a pharmaceutical version of tetrahydrocannabinol ("THC").
In terms of market share, the giant on the list of cannabis-focused biopharmaceutical companies is GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH), which is focused on the development of plant-derived cannabinoid therapeutics based on its proprietary cannabinoid product platform. The company's primary focus is on disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Within this arena, GW's lead cannabinoid product candidate is Epidiolex® (cannabidiol), in development for the treatment of rare childhood-onset epilepsy disorders. The company's Sativex® (nabiximols) prescription drug, a therapy approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, is the world's first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug. Additionally, GW boasts a deep pipeline of additional cannabinoid product candidates which include clinical-stage compounds for glioma, schizophrenia and epilepsy.
It's an impressive and interesting lineup, but what sets India Globalization Capital (NYSE: IGC) (IGC Profile) apart from the other players is its foray into the larger market for cannabis-based combination therapies that would treat pain and other conditions. The company recently filed patents (http://nnw.fm/ggBB6) for formulations that will reduce the side effects of single drugs by being combined with a cannabinoid. IGC filed IGC-501 for a cannabis-based formulation to treat neuropathic and arthritic pain in joints and muscles using a variety of delivery techniques.
India Globalization Capital also filed combination therapy formulations for the treatment of epilepsy/seizures (IGC-502) and cachexia (IGC-504). IGC-501, IGC-502 and IGC-503 are novel combination therapies that, if proven out by clinical trials, are expected to treat pain, medical refractory epilepsy and eating disorders respectively, with lower side effects than conventional therapies.
Such 'combination therapies' have the unique opportunity to quickly move through the FDA's approval process, since the drugs have already been individually approved. Consequently, IGC believes it has 'first mover' advantage in pursuing this approach to bring cannabis-based pharmaceutical products to market in a quick and cost-effective manner.
The cannabis industry is growing in popularity. The wave of enthusiasm surrounding the recent legalization of cannabis in several new states is sweeping the country and IGC anticipates an explosion in demand for cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical therapies, technology, facilities and financial services. With a solid strategic plan in hand, this NYSE MKT listed company has a modest $9 million market capitalization which is just a fraction of their peer group, and is aggressively leaning on its connections to medical and procedural expertise to take advantage of one of many ground-floor opportunities. And, it is developing innovative therapies, while also acquiring technologies from related industries that will place it in the right position for capitalizing on its first-mover advantage.
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