NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Drugs play an essential role in treating anything from a mild headache to life-threatening disease — and everything in between. While effectiveness of drugs is what most often captures the spotlight, that effectiveness is closely associated with the drug-delivery technology used, and innovation in this space may have a huge impact on how successful a drug can be.
Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) (LXRP Profile) has developed one of the most innovative drug-delivery systems seen in years, a system that can be used to deliver a wide range of drugs in a more palatable and effective way. Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGEN) is developing anti-cancer drugs whose delivery systems deliver killer treatments directly to harmful cells. Cancer-treatment company Exelixis Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL) has recently entered into a partnership specifically to develop innovative new drugs. Axsome Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSM) uses a variety of delivery mechanisms to treat illnesses of the central nervous system, including narcolepsy, migraines and depression. Provention Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: PRVB) is focused on immune diseases and has recently seen significant progress in the development of lupus and diabetes drugs.
- New methods of delivery could make many drugs more effective.
- The delivery systems can be applied to everything from nicotine to cancer treatments.
- Investment and outside expertise have helped fuel the companies developing these treatments.
Seeking Innovations in Therapeutics
The search for innovation is vital in any sector but particularly so in health and medicine. While existing products can sometimes be rebranded or improved, the genuinely transformative are focused on saving lives and improving the well-being of patients around the world.
Innovations in bioscience aren’t always dramatic. Some, such as gene therapy or new treatments for viruses, can easily grab the headlines. But other improvements can also make a radical difference to people’s lives, from making treatments more affordable to making medicines more palatable and efficient, allowing patients to complete courses of treatment. Innovative new delivery systems can achieve these goals and are therefore among the most highly sought-after advances by companies in the fields of medicine, biotechnology and even consumer products.
New Approaches to Nicotine
One important area where this type of innovation has been particularly effective is the delivery of nicotine, in which Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) is making momentous advances.
Despite public health campaigns and legislative changes, tobacco remains a major health problem around the world. Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers and, in 85% of cases, is linked to smoking. Even smokers who get lucky and dodge the cancer bullet pay the heavy costs of addiction, from its expense to distinctive odors and respiratory problems.
Because of nicotine’s addictive quality, many people find it difficult to break the hold tobacco has over their lives, their health and their wallets. Until recently, innovation in the nicotine industry was almost zero, with the creation of nicotine patches and gums having occurred decades ago.
Vaping, by virtue of retaining some of smoking’s ritual and social aspects, has become a popular alternative, but there is great uncertainty over how healthy it is, and only longitudinal studies will allow public-health organizations to find the answer. Lexaria’s nicotine-delivery technology may represent the single largest innovation in the nicotine industry in 30 years.
Lexaria’s DehydraTECH(TM) technology can be used to deliver nicotine in a safer way. By ingeniously combining nicotine with food-grade fatty acids, the patented DehydraTECH technology creates an oral form of nicotine delivery that does not target the lungs and does not cause lung cancer. Neither is the nicotine absorbed as an aerosol — the plague of the ongoing and growing vape epidemic.
And this appears to be only the beginning of where this innovative drug-delivery platform may change the landscape.
A Novel Approach to Drug Absorption
DehydraTECH may be the most novel form of drug delivery discovered in decades. Fatty acids used in the technology mask the smell and taste of the drug and potentially greatly reduce stomach upset. This allows it to be added to all sorts of foods and drinks — oral delivery — without relying on artificial flavors or loads of sugar to mask a drug. This is useful not just for nicotine but for other pharmaceuticals as well.
In addition to covering the smells and tastes associated with drugs, DehydraTECH also improves the delivery of the substances it contains. One of the reasons smoking is so appealing is because there are lower barriers for a drug to enter the bloodstream through the lungs than through the digestive system. Smoking delivers drugs quickly and effectively but in an unhealthy manner. DehydraTECH is also designed to deliver drugs quickly and effectively but in a much healthier method than smoking or vaping.
DehydraTECH is already patented for delivery of a range of substances including nicotine, NSAIDs and many more. As markets for these health and wellness products expand, so will the market for effective delivery systems. As a result, there’s more need than ever for a solution such as DehydraTECH.
Establishing Profitable Relationships
Though a relatively young company, Lexaria has already established positive relationships with companies and investors from the Fortune 500. Lexaria’s technology is being examined and may be put into production by one of America’s largest companies through a R&D and product development agreement and a technology license whereby Lexaria can receive ongoing royalties based on utilization of DehydraTECH.
To boost its expansion efforts, Lexaria has appointed Brian Quigley to its board of directors. Quigley is a former executive at Altria, one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, where he spent seven years as president and CEO for U.S. Smokeless Tobacco and Nu-Mark, Altria’s innovation company. His experience, knowledge and connections are valuable assets that could make a big difference in Lexaria’s push to demonstrate the value of DehydraTECH both to investors and to customers.
With tobacco consumers as one of Lexaria’s largest target markets for noncombusted nicotine delivery, an ex-tobacco executive is a natural fit. But there’s more to Lexaria’s expansion than investment hunting and careful boardroom choices.
Lexaria’s growth, like that of any good biotech company, is founded in its R&D program. Through groundbreaking work with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Lexaria has improved understanding of what is happening in its technology, down to the molecular level. Rigorous testing, including liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance, demonstrated that the DehydraTECH process does not create a covalent-bonded new molecular entity (“NME”), and so will not need the extra regulatory screening required for NME’s in Canada and the United States.
Meanwhile, the company has continued to innovate in creating its proprietary technology and to ensure it retains control of its creations. In August, Lexaria received five new granted patents: two in the United States and three in Australia. This brings the company’s total up to 16 patents, all revolving around its DehydraTECH process and the products stemming from it.
Lexaria’s newest patent awards also include — for the first time —granted claims for pharmaceutical applications for treatment of conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, hepatic disease, and alcohol, opioid, nicotine or cocaine addiction, among others. Lexaria appears to have established itself as an noteworthy, up-and-coming player within the biotech industry.
And Lexaria isn’t keeping its revolutionary technology to itself. Instead, the company is licensing DehydraTECH out to other companies, allowing those companies to use the technology to improve delivery of their own drugs and compounds. Eleven licenses have been granted so far, including one to Altria, which will use DehydraTECH in alternative nicotine products, and one to Hill Street Beverages for use in beverages around the world.
Working on Delivery Systems
Delivery systems are a vital component in the drug industry and are highly sought after. They allow treatments to bypass bodily defenses that may treat them as intruders and to more effectively target the site of ailments. That’s why they’re vital to cancer treatments such as those being developed by Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGEN). The company has been working on antibody-drug conjugate technology, which can deliver cell-killing agents directly to cancer cells. A treatment using this technology was recently approved by the FDA.
Exelixis Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL) has spent 25 years working on effective cancer treatments. Its industry-leading small molecule chemical compound library, which consists of more than four million discrete drug leads, has been used in the development of three distinct drugs for the treatment of cancer. The company recently entered into an agreement with Aurigene Discovery Technologies Limited to work on cancer medicines with unique action mechanisms.
Axsome Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSM) uses a variety of delivery mechanisms to treat illnesses of the central nervous system including narcolepsy, migraines and Alzheimer’s disease. The company is also working on products to help users quit smoking. Axsome recently began Phase 3 trials of the use of one of its medicines to tackle major depressive disorders and has accelerated trials of a migraine treatment.
For Provention Bio Inc. (NASDAQ: PRVB), the focus is on immune diseases — both preventing and treating them. Provention Bio’s central innovation is to focus on earlier stages of diseases and to tackle them before heavy symptoms set in. The company recently announced clinical trials of a drug targeting lupus and has seen its work on a diabetes drug expedited by the FDA so that treatment will reach patients faster.
Novel delivery systems are creating new drugs to tackle everything from tobacco addiction to cancer relief, and such breakthroughs could be the making of the companies behind them.
For more information on Lexaria, please visit Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP)
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