NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: By now, the potential for cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) to reduce the symptoms and even help prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s has been fairly well-documented by a wide variety of studies (http://nnw.fm/RRjS8). The global potential for cannabis-based therapies has triggered a medical marijuana arms race, as countries like Canada, Israel and many of those in Western Europe seize the initiative and more boldly go where the U.S. federal government has feared to allow private industry to tread. Rising stars in the sector, such as phytocannabinoid combination therapy developer India Globalization Capital, Inc. (NYSE MKT: IGC) (IGC Profile), are acutely aware of this immense global potential and have begun to position themselves to secure what will no doubt be hotly-contested market share. Investors interested in medicinal marijuana and/or Alzheimer’s treatments will find themselves looking at a global landscape of key players that includes Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA), the first U.S. publicly traded cannabis company, as well as Canadian pharmaceutical-grade marijuana producers Aphria, Inc. (OTCQB: APHQF) (TSX: APH), MYM Nutraceuticals, Inc. (OTCQB: MYMMF) (CNSX: MYM) and Supreme Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTC: SPRWF) (TSXV: FIRE).
As attitudes grow increasingly favorable to the medicinal capabilities of cannabis, the companies that excel in this new field are those focused on the development of therapies that address global market concerns, such as Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will cost the U.S. roughly $259 billion in 2017 and, by 2050, could rise to as much as $1.1 trillion (http://nnw.fm/OzoX8).
Help may be on the way, though, as India Globalization Capital, Inc. (IGC) is now on the verge of bringing a potential blockbuster treatment for Alzheimer’s to market as soon as early 2018 (http://nnw.fm/8pkAv). Through a license agreement with the University of South Florida (http://nnw.fm/Ny7N0), IGC is the exclusive licensee of the U.S. patent filing “THC as a Potential Therapeutic Agent for Alzheimer’s Disease,” putting the company on track with a unique advantage in the global Alzheimer’s drug market, which is currently valued at roughly $3.6 billion (http://nnw.fm/b6AVl).
Novel in vitro data (http://nnw.fm/wvwX7) aggregated by IGC using genetically engineered cell lines add substantial weight to the existing argument about low doses of THC addressing the link between amyloid beta peptide (Aβ plaque) buildup in the cerebral cortex/hippocampus and Alzheimer’s (http://nnw.fm/lnxQ1). Given that the dominant therapies for Alzheimer’s cannot stop or reverse disease progression, the mounting evidence that THC and CBD can stop or even reverse the symptoms of this disease (while providing neuroprotective benefits) is huge (http://nnw.fm/f8RVr).
Today’s dominant Alzheimer’s therapies, such as Allergan’s (AGN) Namenda, Daiichi Sankyo’s (DSNKY, DSKYF) Memary, Novartis’s (NVS) Exelon and the drug Aricept developed by Pfizer (PFE) and Eisai (ESALY, ESALF), may soon find themselves supplanted by disruptive new technologies based on extremely old natural substances, like cannabis, which have been in continuous human use for centuries.
Notably, while IGC’s potential is of impressive significance, the company’s market valuation of $10 million is a drop in a bucket compared to other Alzheimer’s players such as Allergan (NYSE: AGN), valued at $60+ billion; Novartis (NYSE: NVS) at $213 billion, and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) with a market cap of over $210 billion. While IGC has considerable room to grow as investors become aware of its true value, the company offers potentially the most substantial product in the industry. If its aforementioned patent is approved, IGC will own the key therapeutic pathway by which THC interacts with the human body.
The new in vitro data from IGC extend earlier findings regarding the company’s IGC-AD1 product (Hyalolex, http://nnw.fm/Xb0f4), which showed up to 50 percent reduction in the production of the two key peptides that make up the amyloid plaques found in abundance within the brains of Alzheimer’s patients (http://nnw.fm/o5PGh). Moreover, because Alzheimer’s starts several decades before symptoms begin to exhibit, a drug like IGC-AD1, which has demonstrated an ability to decrease production/aggregation of Aβ plaque without neurotoxic effects or inebriation, could become a leading prophylactic treatment taken by millions as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Building on this potential, IGC is gearing up to commercialize a non-inebriating liquid supplement version of the product for the licensed medical dispensary market (http://nnw.fm/4RgWz), which has demonstrated an ability to enhance mitochondrial function (a trigger for Alzheimer’s pathophysiology) by as much as 60 percent in vitro (http://nnw.fm/0kf0N). This readily commercialized combination therapy could give IGC significant, immediate ground game in this burgeoning retail space and help support the company’s clinical work. This one-two punch approach, with a food supplement in one hand and an FDA prophylactic/therapeutic indication in the other, is as powerful as it is solidly backed by exclusively-licensed IP.
Germany alone has nearly 83 million people, and the most common cause behind the 1.6 million-plus dementia cases in that country is Alzheimer’s (http://nnw.fm/Y1F5z). As such, the recent announcement that IGC has entered into an MOU with leading Hamburg-based medical cannabis information and services provider MediCann Handels GmbH (http://nnw.fm/ssMn9) to import and distribute IGC’s cannabinoid-based therapies to German pharmacies has been music to savvy investors’ ears. This is a serious boon for IGC, which marks the first step of many along the company’s path to commercialization and is a real sweetheart of a deal, with MediCann footing the bill for the logistics, as well as sales and marketing.
Medical Marijuana (MJNA), with a current estimated market valuation of $67 million, is also eyeing its potential in the Alzheimer’s market, with its Real Scientific Hemp Oil (“RSHO™”) products taking shape as leading CBD hemp oil solutions in several international markets. In February 2017, MJNA announced (http://nnw.fm/5B76p) that the Brazilian government authorized a doctor’s prescription for RSHO™ to treat a patient with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Treatment solutions for neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are desperately needed because of the difficulty in developing pharmaceuticals that can pass the blood-brain barrier, a specialized system of cells that allow nutrients in the brain while preventing harmful substances from passing through,” MJNA CEO Dr. Stuart Titus stated in the press release. “Cannabinoids like CBD, however can pass through the blood-brain barrier and affect cannabinoid/other receptors in the brain and an early stage study has shown the potential benefit of cannabis and cannabinoid therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. This will lead us toward future cannabinoid remedies and research to convince the medical community of potential benefits.”
MJNA currently has three products approved for importation into Brazil, which are subsidized by the government as prescription medications for chronic pain, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.
With mounting interest in the potential of cannabis-based therapies, the demand for medicinal-grade cannabis production continues to increase. Canadian medical cannabis provider Aphria (APHQF) recently completed its initial shipment of cannabis oil to Australian medical life science company Medlab Clinical (http://nnw.fm/x0nFO). Aphira will produce and supply high-yield cannabis extracts for Medlab’s upcoming, first-of-its-kind globally, human trial of its cannabis-based NanaBis™ in intractable pain among oncology patients. With product formulation and permits for the agreement already approved by both Health Canada and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, investors can see why eyes are increasingly turning overseas amid the continued blossoming of the cannabis sector into a full-fledged industry, with global horizons in the ballpark of $56 billion by 2025 for just the non-recreational segment (http://nnw.fm/6Futo).
In Australia, MYM Nutraceuticals (MYMMF) is focused on acquiring Health Canada licenses to produce and sell high-end organic medicinal cannabis supplements and topical products. The company recently entered into a strategic partnership with PUF Ventures, Inc. (CSE: PUF) (FRA: PU3) (OTC: PUFXF) for the construction of a one million-square-foot greenhouse facility with large-scale manufacturing, processing and office facilities for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medical cannabis and associated products. At full scale, the Northern Rivers Project will have the capacity to produce 100,000 kilograms of high quality cannabis per year, which would be worth between C$800 million and C$1.1 billion based on current pricing metrics in the Australian cannabis marketplace (http://nnw.fm/nPNV9).
Supreme Pharmaceuticals (SPRWF) is dedicated to becoming a leading cultivator and supplier of cannabis in federally legal and regulated global markets. SPRWF is primed for access to global operators in the sector via its wholly owned 7ACRES subsidiary, with sales already going swimmingly to other Canadian players such as retail partner Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF) and medicines developer Emerald Health Therapeutics (EMHTF). The company even recently tacked on another 30,000 square feet at its (now) 342,000-square-foot hybrid greenhouse facility in Ontario (http://nnw.fm/SuWN0).
With nearly 44 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s or a related dementia worldwide and an estimated total health care cost of some $605 billion, this one vector could carry much of the existing cannabis market, if a suitable THC/CBD-based treatment is developed. Until many more U.S. states pass reform legislation or the federal government reverses its stance on the drug, it seems reasonable that market participants will continue to focus on global opportunities. As a small-cap racing alongside large-cap peers, IGC is geared up to capture its share of the medicinal marijuana and Alzheimer’s disease treatment markets, propelled by potential patent protection for its market-ready technology, and in-vitro, in-vivo clinical data showing the efficacy of its formulation.
For more information on India Globalization Capital please visit: India Globalization Capital, Inc. (IGC)
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