NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: It’s no secret that cigarettes, a product whose toxins and carcinogens have shown time and again to cause illness and a long list of cancers, are addictive. Finding a way to stop smoking is an individual battle, although there is hope that new products are on the horizon that may help millions of people win the fight. Several significant research and development projects being undertaken by such innovators such as Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE:LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) (LXRP Profile) a company with proprietary technology capable of changing the way active pharmaceutical ingredients (“APIs”) such as nicotine enter the body. Even leading tobacco brands like British American Tobacco p.l.c. (NYSE: BTI), Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM), Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) and Universal Corporation (NYSE: UVV) are showing interest in contributing to the shift toward nicotine-infused products and away from combustible cigarettes.
What, No Smoke?
That’s the goal, isn’t it? Products on the market today meant to help smokers “kick the habit” are behind the counter of nearly every store that carries dozens of cigarette brands. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several forms of nicotine replacement therapy such as gum, transdermal patches, sprays, inhalers or lozenges, and all are meant to help relieve some of the physical withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to quit smoking (http://nnw.fm/2Nd9L). Interestingly, the legal age for tobacco products and inhalant delivery system such as e-cigarettes in Oregon was just raised from 18 to 21, effective January 1, 2018. That legislation puts Oregon in company with California, Hawaii, Maine and New Jersey as the only states with such a legal limit (http://nnw.fm/d12X2). The goal, according to state officials, is to stop young people from first picking up a cigarette and avoid joining the millions of people who die each year because of tobacco use.
Research teams at Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE:LXX) (OTCQB: LXRP), based in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, have developed a new, disruptive drug delivery platform called “DehydraTECH™ that changes the way APIs enter the body via oral consumption. Lexaria’s patented delivery method could give the estimated 69 percent of U.S. adult smokers who say they want to quit a new way to do just that. Utilizing Lexaria’s DehydraTECH™ technology to formulate edible products containing nicotine and/or its analogues for this purpose offers unique advantages to the consumer. The company’s newly issued U.S. patent award covers the use of DehydraTECH™ technology as a broad delivery platform for a broad range of APIs, including all cannabinoids, fat soluble vitamins, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications (“NSAIDs”), and nicotine (http://nnw.fm/Do3iO).
“This wide-ranging patent allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office exceeds our expectations” Lexaria Bioscience Chief Executive Officer Chris Bunka stated in a press release (http://nnw.fm/4NAWd). “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.”
Advanced Delivery Method
Lexaria is accelerating its research focus on nicotine following its patent grant and is preparing formulations of edible forms of nicotine using the DehydraTECH™ technology. These formulations are currently completing quality control testing prior to in vivo absorption and tolerability testing. A third-party laboratory is expected to perform the first nicotine edible tests in February 2018. Imagine an edible nicotine-infused product that: masks unwanted tastes, eliminating the need for sugar-filled edibles; reduces the time of onset with effects felt within 15-20 minutes instead of up to an hour or more; avoids first-pass liver metabolism, which means fewer side effects; and increases bio-absorption by five to 10 times which equates to an inhaled delivery method – all while helping you quit smoking cigarettes.
Spotlight on Innovation
The FDA’s recent proposal to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels bodes well for companies like Lexaria whose patented technology clearly supports the effort. Almost 90 percent of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18 and nearly 2,500 youth smoke their first cigarette every day in the U.S., and the FDA’s comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation will serve as a multiyear roadmap to better protect children and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death (http://nnw.fm/2SUkk). Lowering nicotine levels could decrease the likelihood that future generations become addicted to cigarettes and allow more currently addicted smokers to quit.
The company’s proprietary platform allows for the infusion of nicotine molecules within a wide range of edible food ingredients or typical capsule formats, effectively opening the door for the creation of a new product category targeting the high-demand smoking cessation market (http://nnw.fm/vmNg7). While this research is in its early stages, the market implications of maximizing Lexaria’s patented molecular delivery method in such areas as nicotine delivery, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and vitamins – all multibillion dollar industries – is significant. According to a 2016 report by Grand View Research, Inc., the global smoking cessation and nicotine de-addiction market is expected to reach over $21.8 billion by 2024. As Grand View reports, “The launch of… improved and innovative nicotine replacement therapy products is to serve as a high impact rendering driver for the growth of the smoking cessation and nicotine de-addiction market (http://nnw.fm/Ytnr1)”
Big Tobacco’s Take
The FDA’s mandate is even being touted by big tobacco companies whose fortunes once solely rested on its combustible offerings. Smoke-free options are rapidly becoming popular as the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports they often are chosen by those wishing to lower nicotine cravings in their quest to stop smoking cigarettes (http://nnw.fm/bM5vN). The FDA’s directive to lower nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive or less addictive levels is driving much of the industry’s research and development drive. With more tobacco companies acknowledging the hazards of smoking and changing their approach to nicotine consumption, Lexaria could have incredible potential as a solution provider with its advanced delivery system.
British American Tobacco p.l.c. (NYSE: BTI), a global tobacco and nicotine products company, sells its products in more than 200 markets worldwide. The company’s push to develop “Next Generation Products,” such as e-cigarettes and tobacco-heating products comes with a reminder that although these products are not entirely without risk, they are considered to be significantly less than smoking combustible cigarettes (http://nnw.fm/ss8Nv).
Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM), one of the three largest tobacco companies in the world, trumpets its intention to design a “smoke-free future” right on the front page of the company website, asking readers “How long will PMI be in the cigarette business?” (http://nnw.fm/7Mih6). The company states it is developing and testing products that deliver nicotine without the harmful smoke of cigarettes. In fact, Phillip Morris said its New Year’s resolution is to give up cigarettes (http://nnw.fm/Q2Dc1) and took out full-page ads in several newspapers in the United Kingdom that reiterated its ambition.
Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) is another global tobacco company based in the United States focused on addressing these same issues of reducing the health effects of tobacco use. “Reduced risk” tobacco products are reportedly part of Altria’s future, with many industry analysts expecting this category to be a major growth driver in 2018 (http://nnw.fm/vr3Ys). Regulatory hurdles along with limitations on marketing campaigns, a growing anti-smoking push and higher excise taxes are all dragging tobacco companies down.
Leading tobacco leaf supply company Universal Corporation (NYSE: UVV) doesn’t make cigarettes or tobacco products, but the Virginia-based company is still affected by the public’s growing aversion to combustible cigarettes. Universal states on its website that the company believes growth in world consumption of cigarettes peaked several years ago and is declining. While its clients remain the six largest tobacco companies in the world, Universal is also investing in alternative forms of revenue (http://nnw.fm/0VKe0). The company’s AmeriNic joint venture seeks to produce liquid nicotine for the vapor products industry, which may prove to be a lucrative change from the conventional tobacco end market.
A Bright Future
Lexaria, which upgraded to the OTCQB Venture Market on January 4, 2018, expects this to provide an unqualified positive opportunity for investors as the company continues to build its disruptive technology and create innovative products for the cannabis industry and nicotine-suppression markets.
“Lexaria has made notable progress over the past twelve months in all aspects of its business, and will receive even more recognition by upgrading to OTCQX,” CEO Bunka stated in the press release announcing the uplisting. “Lexaria expects to provide greater visibility and liquidity for our investors on OTCQX as we build our disruptive technology innovations through 2018 and beyond.”
For more information on Lexaria Bioscience, visit: Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE:LXX) (OTCQB: LXRP)
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