NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Double 2001 levels, Americans spent over $36 billion on vitamins and nutritional supplements in 2016, contributing to a global dietary supplements market expected to exceed $220 billion by the year 2022 (http://nnw.fm/z8Bh1, http://nnw.fm/qARU7). A noteworthy characteristic of products within this booming sector is bio-absorbability. In order for the body to utilize vitamins and minerals, they must disintegrate and be quickly released. Otherwise, they are simply excreted, rendering them ineffectual. A recent study revealed that over half of encapsulated micronutrients didn’t disintegrate within the time needed for effective absorption (http://nnw.fm/12CAq), demonstrating a sizable underserved need within the multi-billion-dollar industry. Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQB: LXRP) (LXRP Profile) has developed and patented a cost-effective lipophilic technology that addresses this issue, serving as a delivery platform for all cannabinoids, fat soluble vitamins, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications (“NSAIDs”), and even nicotine. With proven efficacy for improved taste, rapidity, and delivery of bioactive compounds, Lexaria is positioned to license its technology to tobacco giants such as Philip Morris International, Inc. (NYSE: PM) and British American Tobacco PLC (NYSE: BTI), as well as cannabinoid biopharmaceutical companies like GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: GWPH) and major drug companies such as Pfizer, Inc. (PFE).
Adding to its portfolio of 19 international patent applications filed encompassing 44 countries, Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQB: LXRP) earlier this week announced that it has received from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) a new Notice of Allowance that applies to the delivery of all applied-for active pharmacological ingredients (“APIs”). As was the case with Lexaria’s existing non-psychoactive cannabinoid patent, the company expects formal patent issuance within three to four months, which is expected to provide protection until at least 2035.
The issuance of the patent will enable Lexaria to accelerate its technology out-licensing activities in several key markets. The irony is that this R&D that originated in the cannabis is now finding use in delivery of NSAIDs, vitamins and even nicotine.
“This wide-ranging patent allowance from the USPTO exceeds our expectations. This vastly expanded intellectual property protection will enable us to aggressively pursue new business opportunities in 2018 such as what could be the world’s first nicotine edibles for the smokeless tobacco industry, or enhanced products for NSAID-derived pain management, as well as in the rapidly growing cannabis market,” Lexaria CEO Chris Bunka stated in the press release announcing the news (http://nnw.fm/2iPIn).
According to the CDC, 36.5 million adults in the U.S. currently smoke tobacco, while 16 million live with a smoking-related disease. The U.S. FDA earlier this year submitted a proposal to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels in an effort to significantly reduce the effects of tobacco-related diseases. As such, leading tobacco companies are pursuing marketable alternatives to their combustible offerings, and Lexaria is uniquely positioned to capture a share of this mammoth market with technology allows that for the infusion of nicotine molecules within a wide range of edible food ingredients or capsules.
Notably, current forms of nicotine delivery have mostly failed. The development of readily absorbed nicotine-infused edible products could create smoke-free cigarette alternatives and greatly improve upon the success of inhalation smoking cessation programs. The expected FDA action makes tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc. (PM), which manufactures and sells cigarettes and other tobacco products globally, a potential licensee for edible, absorbable nicotine replacement therapeutics.
Another potential tobacco company beneficiary of Lexaria’s technology is British American Tobacco PLC (BTI), which has invested more than $1 billion in building its “Next Generation Products” business, an assortment of alternative tobacco and nicotine products aimed at reducing the risks associated with smoking conventional cigarettes. Looking to the future, BTI was among the first international tobacco companies to launch an e-cigarette product in the UK. Touted as a tobacco alternative, electronic cigarettes still rely on inhalation for nicotine delivery, and the long-term health risk associated with e-cigarettes remains in question. Bio-absorbable nicotine could provide much safer and less expensive molecule delivery.
Lexaria’s potential in this market is best understood by examining the application of the company’s technology to cannabinoids, as well as its licensing strategy.
Medical cannabinoids have demonstrated therapeutic efficacy for a variety of diseases and ailments; however, the human gastrointestinal tract doesn’t absorb cannabinoids easily, causing wide deviation in onset times and effectiveness. To achieve higher effectiveness, consumers usually default to smoking. The key differentiator between Lexaria’s technology and older tech on the market is its ability to enhance the absorption of orally-ingested cannabinoids while improving the “unusual” taste and allowing for lower overall dosing with higher efficacy. Furthermore, Lexaria’s lipophilic enhancement technology increases the bio-absorption of cannabinoid edibles to between five and ten times that of inhalation and reduces onset times by roughly 75% due to rapid bio-absorption and potential liver bypass.
In what will only be strengthened by issuance of the aforenoted patent, Lexaria uses a low-cost, high-margin license and royalty model of revenue generation. Since its technology is complimentary to all ingested forms of cannabinoids and potentially multiple other ingestible products, the company is positioned to license its intellectual property to biopharmaceutical companies as a partner rather than a competitor. In short, the enhanced technology provides an additional layer of effectiveness designed to harmonize with the intellectual property of third parties, such as GW Pharmaceuticals PLC (NASDAQ: GWPH), as they deliver best-in-class products to their existing large consumer groups.
GW Pharmaceuticals is the world’s largest cannabinoid pharmaceutical company. Recognized for its multiple sclerosis (MS) cannabinoid product, Sativex, GW Pharmaceuticals is developing and commercializing multiple therapeutics from its cannabinoid product platform across a range of disease areas. The company’s lead cannabinoid product candidate, Epidiolex, a liquid formulation of pure plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), is in phase III clinical trials for the treatment of severe treatment-resistant epilepsy syndromes. Preliminary results from the trials have produced encouraging results and, if approved, could bring in blockbuster sales.
Beyond the cannabinoid sector, Lexaria sees considerable potential in applying its delivery technology to many other consumer products, including NSAIDs like Advil. More than 70 million prescriptions and more than 30 billion over-the counter tablets of NSAIDs are sold annually in the United States alone. While NSAIDs are effective in relieving pain, fever and inflammation, they can cause unwanted and sometimes dangerous side effects. Given a timely and predictable delivery system, biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), the maker of Advil, could easily find multiple applications for Lexaria’s technology throughout its global portfolio of medicines, vaccines and consumer health care products.
Lexaria is gaining considerable market traction with its expanding patent portfolio, leveraging a unique technology that positions the company as a potential partner to some of today’s leading consumer brands. Building on this opportunity, Lexaria continues to explore additional technologies that could deliver value to its growing portfolio of patented technologies which now has to be considered one of the broadest in the industry.
For more information on Lexaria Bioscience Corp., please visit: Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQB: LXRP)
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