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The Golden Bullet for Drug Delivery

Marc Davis Marc Davis,
0 Comments| January 8, 2020

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It’s the Holy Grail in the cannabis industry.

Everyone is trying to innovate the best delivery system to optimize the “bioavailability” (uptake) of medical cannabis in order to offer the perfect pairing -- precise dosing with a fast onset.

The introduction of such next-generation cannabis innovations is sure to go a long way towards allaying the medical community’s concerns about how cannabis can be safely administered by a pharmaceutical-like method of titration -- the process of adjusting the dose of a medication for its maximum benefit without adverse effects.

For now, most physicians find it to be counter-intuitive to prescribe to patients a combustible dried herb that can produce dangerous chemicals when it burns – ones that are inhaled along with the cannabis chemicals. In fact, most doctors associate all forms of smoking with negative health effects.

Titration and the administration of precision dosing represent the evolution of medical cannabis. This is because these dosing safeguards deliver exactly what medical prescribers have long been demanding. When these mechanisms for the metered dosing of standardized cannabis products are available to the marketplace, the barriers to acceptance among doctors are sure to fade away.

This is where cannabis R&D industry newcomer XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (FSE: 4XT) comes into focus. The Vancouver-headquartered company has scooped up an opportunity to be an industry leader in the innovation and implementation of such a breakthrough technology by being a first-mover in Europe.

To ensure a successful market entry, XPhyto has acquired one of Germany’s leading developers of EU-GMP-certified, pharmaceutical-quality thin film drug delivery technology – Munich-based Vektor Pharma TF GmbH.

In fact, Vektor has over ten years experience in the design, testing and manufacture of thin-film drug delivery systems, particularly transdermal patches and sublingual (oral) strips for the clinical management of pain. Most significantly, this technology ensures that the percentage or amount of a drug dose that actually reaches the bloodstream to provide therapeutic relief is optimized.

(Dissolvable, thin-film drug delivery formulations promise to become the definitive delivery system for cannabis-based medicines)

(Vektor’s proprietary manufacturing technology producing therapeutic film.)

Vaping: Giving the Industry a Black Eye
For medical patients and recreational users alike in the US, the go-to alternative to smoking has become vaporizing cannabis, a.k.a. “vaping”. This entails heating the cannabis to a high enough temperature to activate (release) the cannabis chemicals without actually having to combust (burn) the cannabis. Instead of creating smoke, vaping produces a fine mist that is inhaled, which is considered healthier than smoking.

However, vaping has earned a bad reputation recently due to the presence of dangerous by-products in some of the cannabis oils being manufactured. Much of the blame has been directed at the black market for producing unregulated oils that can be unsafe to consume.

Some media reports suggest that there are also legally-sold cannabis oils that are being used in vape cartridges which might also contain adulterants that present serious health risks. For now, the verdict is out on whether vape pens are in fact safe for medical patients, especially the most vulnerable among them who have compromised immune systems.

Another major consideration concerns medical cannabis patients with high tolerance for THC and a need for high daily dosing. Their ranks include the large percentage of chronic pain sufferers who have high consumption needs. For them, it is often difficult to absorb sizeable quantities of medicinal cannabis via the lungs, regardless of whether it is smoked or vaped. These methods also offer low bioavailability due to poor absorption in the bloodstream. (More on this in a moment.)

Why Edibles Won’t be the New Go-to Solution
Due to the fact that vaping and low-dose smoking are low-dose delivery mechanisms, many patients – particularly cancer victims – rely on high-dosage edibles to get the pain relief that they need.

Once again, the biggest complaint among patients who rely on edibles is the inconsistency of the waiting period for the drug’s onset, as well as the difficulty with accurate dosing because of the poor metabolization of cannabinoids in the gut. This is due to edibles’ poor absorption into the bloodstream due to the interfering effect of our gastric acids.

What’s the Next Cannabis Industry Disruptor?
Probably the most effective delivery method found to date involves administering cannabis sublingually i.e. dissolving under the tongue. Even though this can take as little as 15 minutes for the onset of the cannabis, its effects tend to wear off after about 90 minutes.

Sublingual applications, such as tinctures and sprays, can be more precisely dosed due to their abundant bioavailability via the direct absorption of cannabinoids into the bloodstream. This is the key to its high effectiveness. It is the fact that it avoids the gastrointestinal systems.

Next-generation sublinguals involve cannabis strips/films that can deliver proprietary formula to target different medical conditions. These cannabis-oil-based formulations can be either isolates or distillates. By absorbing the cannabinoids under the tongue, the effect is not altered, diminished, or time delayed by digestive processes.

Sublingual application facilitates cannabinoids entering the bloodstream relatively fast and with predictable results. Most importantly, they make it possible for low dosages to have optimal medical effect due to the high efficacy of the absorption process. Again, this is known as titration.

These formulated oral wafers are designed to dissolve in saliva within seconds with no aftertaste or any need for water. Another benefit that is not often discussed in the media is the fact that the liver converts THC to a more psychoactive version. In other words, it produces a more intense “high”, which many cannabis patients prefer to avoid – especially if they are trying to function as normally as possible while under the influence of cannabis.

(These results show the superior dissolution abilities of Vector’s CBD formulations and oral delivery system, compared to CBD softgel capsules and chewing gum.)

Investment Summary
It cannot be overstated that the innovation of precision dosing represents a major evolutionary leap for medical cannabis. In fact, it promises to be a game-changer in terms of winning over skeptical medical professionals, particularly in Germany.

This is where XPhyto has a powerful competitive edge, not just in Germany but worldwide due to its innovation of EU-GMP-certified, pharmaceutical-quality thin film drug delivery technology. XPhyto’s acquisition of Vektor Pharma has proved very timely and very strategically advantageous.

To recap, Vektor is a Munich-based company with considerable expertise in developing next-generation, ultra-thin oral wafers for drug delivery. This allows XPhyto to leverage off Vektor’s considerable expertise in both the R&D of advanced drug delivery systems and the manufacturing medical formulations for the pharmaceutical industry.

To this end, XPhyto plans to develop a range of medical cannabis formulations that are aimed at addressing a diversity of medical conditions, including seizure disorders and chronic pain.

Additionally, XPhyto’s early-mover advantage in Germany also applies to several key R&D collaborations, particularly ones that involve high-profile partners, such as the world-renowned Technical University of Munich. These ventures have been discussed in past articles, such as the following:

Though the capital markets for cannabis stocks are in a cyclical slump, companies like XPhyto promise to be among the first to enjoy a rebound once market conditions improve. This point of view is supported by the fact that XPhyto is only trading at about a 30% discount to its trading highs over the past five months (the length of time that it has been trading).

In comparison, most cannabis stocks in Canada and the US have lost at least half their valuations during the same time frame. This includes the biggest names in the cannabis industry, like Canopy Growth (down about 50%), Tilray (down more than 66%), Cronos (down about 50%), iAnthus Capital (down about 50%), Harvest Health (down about 50%), Charlotte’s Web (down about 66%) and Aurora (down about 75%).

On a technical note, XPhyto has around 50 million shares outstanding, with a significant number of those shares in escrow. When matched with an upbeat news flow, such a tight share structure often acts as a powerful springboard to significantly higher share prices.

In this regard, XPhyto has plenty of very positive news in the pipeline, according to management. So XPhyto promises to be a strong performer in 2020 and is likely to be one of the first cannabis stocks to rebound strongly on the back of very encouraging corporate developments in the coming weeks, particularly in Germany.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marc Davis has a deep background in the capital markets spanning 30 years, having mostly worked as an analyst and stock market commentator. He is also a longstanding financial journalist. Over the years, his articles have also appeared in dozens of digital publications worldwide. They include USA Today, CBS Money Watch, The Times (UK), Investors’ Business Daily, the Financial Post, Reuters, National Post, Google News, Barron’s, China Daily, Huffington Post, AOL, City A.M. (London), Bloomberg, (Germany) and the Independent (UK). He has also appeared in business interviews on the BBC, CBC, and SKY TV.

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