Patents in the Cannabis Sector; A Growing Trend
Stocks Mentioned: Veritas Pharma Inc. (CSE: $VRT.C; OTC: $VRTHF), ($NEPT), ($GWPH), ($AXIM), (OTCQB: $LXRP; CSE: $LXX.C)
Point Roberts, WA - November 29, 2017 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Investorideas.com, a global news source and investor resource covering cannabis and hemp stocks issues a sector news alert on patent news and developments and some of the key players.
David Cohen, Ph.D., a patent consultant based in Oakland, California told Investor Ideas, "The US government's "cannabis is illegal" stance has had little apparent dampening effect on patent activity per se, however it's likely that the opening of markets by the progressive legalization of cannabis and entry into mainstream medicine will stimulate new levels of activity.
The current approximately 1,500 cannabis-related US patent cases can be divided into groups: (1) compositions and preparation methods, (2) characterization of cannabinoids in terms of interaction with human cannabinoid receptors, and (3) treating diseases."
He went on to say, "Small companies are focusing on novel formulations, disease treatment, and opening up new niches, such as production of cannabinoids by in fermentation vessels, methods used by the pharmaceutical industry for decades, for the production of complex drugs from genetically engineered cells."
For investors following the sector that are taking note of Patents and IP as a key to success, recent news indicates the trend is definitely on the rise.
Veritas Pharma Inc. (CSE: VRT; OTC: VRTHF; Frankfurt: 2VP), an emerging pharmaceutical and IP development company, through its 80% owned research arm, Cannevert Therapeutics Ltd. ("CTL") filed a provisional patent application to US Patent and Trademark Office (the "USPTO") on September 13, 2017 for use of a specific cannabis strain to enhance the actions of opioid analgesics. An acknowledgement letter from the USPTO was received recently which provided a filing number of US 62/558,021 for this application.
Opioids are substances that are derived from the opium poppy plant. They bind to the human body's own opioid receptors to provide pain relief or 'analgesia' for patients with acute or chronic pain when prescribed legally; morphine is an example opioid analgesic. Use of these drugs for a brief time is considered safe for pain management. However, when they are overprescribed and/or frequently misused, they produce a sense of euphoria along with relieving pain. Hence, drug dependence can occur despite using them as prescribed over prolonged periods with the potential of fatal overdose. Opioid overdose contributed to more than 33,000 deaths in 2015 according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heroin and fentanyl are the most widely known opioids for their illegal, recreational use, abuse potential and fatal overdoses. Cannabis contains substances called cannabinoids that appear to bind to human body's own cannabinoid receptors to also produce similar effects to those of the body's opioids in mediating analgesia and behavioral effects. However, they do not have the same drug dependence or overdose potential. When cannabinoids and opioids are combined, they appear to augment each other's effects synergistically. Therefore, the combination may allow for opioids to be used at lower doses with fewer side effects for the treatment of pain and related addiction. According Coherent Market Insights*, the global opioids market was approximately USD $17b in 2015 and is forecasted to moderately increase to near USD $26b in 2024. It indicates that legal cannabis is expected to impact the opioids market growth as it gets adopted as a safe alternative pain relieving therapy to opioids and it is increasingly being used to address related addiction. According to the World Drug Report 2016, approximately 17 million people suffered from opioid drug abuse.
Veritas CEO, Dr. Lui Franciosi stated, "We are pleased with Cannevert's latest submission to protect its discovery of a cannabis strain that could potentially reduce the dose and side effects of clinically used opioids while maintaining a good pain relieving effect for patients." Dr. Franciosi goes on to say, "This strain could be also potentially useful in addressing the current fentanyl crisis throughout North America. If we're targeting pain or opioid addiction, we want to deliver a scientifically tested, standardized product that clinicians can rely upon."
*Global Opioids Agonist Drugs Market, By Product Type (Codeine, Fentanyl, Meperidine, Methadone, Morphine, Hydrocodone), Therapeutic Application (Pain Management, Cough Treatment, Diarrhea Treatment), and Geography - Trends, Analysis and Forecast till 2024 (Market Report – March 2017)
On Monday, Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT)(TSX:NEPT), announced an exclusive, worldwide and royalty bearing licensing agreement for the use of the MaxSimil® technology, a patented omega-3 fatty acid delivery technology and strong growth driver of Neptune's Solutions business, in combination with cannabis-derived products.
This new agreement allows Neptune to research, manufacture, formulate, distribute and sell monoglyceride omega-3-rich ingredients in combination with cannabis and/or cannabinoid-rich hemp-derived ingredients for medical and adult use applications.
As indicated in the past, the Company believes the MaxSimil® technology has the ability to enhance absorption of lipid-based and lipid soluble ingredients such as cannabinoids, essential fatty acids including EPA and DHA omega-3s, vitamins A, D, K and E, CoQ10 and others. This could be especially beneficial in increasing the absorption of ingredients which are not easily absorbed, such as cannabidiol (CBD).
"Neptune's strategy is to position itself in segments characterized by size and growth and the legal cannabis industry fits well with this and our wellness mission. Our core competencies in science, regulatory affairs, formulation, commercialization and oil extraction are tremendous foundations to position ourselves for success. Over the past year, MaxSimil® has been a proven winner in our Solutions Business and we are excited to apply this technology to cannabis-derived products. We will now begin investigating the impact of this innovative technology on the absorption and benefits of cannabis and cannabinoid ingredients," said Jim Hamilton, President & CEO of Neptune.
The Company submitted a written application to Health Canada to produce cannabis oil under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which at this time has been confirmed by the agency as being at the Review and Security Clearance stage (stage 2 of 6).
On October 31st, 2017, Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (OTCQB:LXRP) (CSE:LXX), a drug delivery platform innovator, announced "it has received a new Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") for the use of its technology as a delivery platform for all cannabinoids including THC; fat soluble vitamins; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications ("NSAIDs"); and nicotine.
This Notice of Allowance applies to the delivery of all active pharmacological ingredients ("APIs") Lexaria had been seeking. While Lexaria has always had confidence in its patent applications, the rapid allowance for this broad API applicability is significantly ahead of Company expectations. As was true with the Company's existing non-psychoactive cannabinoid patent that was granted in 2016, Lexaria expects formal patent issuance within three to four months which is expected to provide protection until at least 2035.
Under USPTO practice, there is no opposition period between allowance and issuance. The patent application number is 15/225,799, "Food and Beverage Compositions Infused With Lipophilic Active Agents and Methods of Use Thereof".
Earlier in October, AXIM® Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTC: AXIM), a company in cannabinoid research and development, announced that "the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a Notice of Allowance for U.S. Application Serial Number 14/982,610, a patent that claims the use of an ophthalmic solution comprising cannabinoids for the treatment of glaucoma and symptomatic relief of conjunctival inflammation. A Notice of Allowance is issued after the USPTO makes a determination that a patent can be granted from AXIM's patent application, 14/982,610, filed in December 2015.
AXIM® Biotech announced on March 21, 2017 that it retained the services of Ora®, Inc., a global Contract Research Organization ("CRO"), to perform the company's product development (based on AXIM's IP) in glaucoma and dry eye syndrome utilizing cannabinoid-based therapeutics through its AX-1603 and AX-1606 clinical programs."
GW Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq:GWPH), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, will announce on December 4th, 2017 its fourth quarter and year-end financial results for the period ending 30 September, 2017.
Commenting on GW Pharmaceuticals, David Cohen, Ph.D said, "GW Pharmaceuticals (Salisbury, UK) is in a class by itself in terms of the size and scope of its patent portfolio. It now has a US portfolio of nearly 100 US references (applications and patents), which is nearly twice as large the portfolio of Abbvie (Redwood City, CA), the big pharma patent leader, and approximately four times the size of its nearest small company competitor. GW has focused its attention on medicinal cannabinoid formulations and on treatment of a wide range of clinical applications, including treatment of nausea, pain, inflammation, and epilepsy.
GW Pharmaceuticals has likely secured this patent position the old -fashioned way: by getting in early, understanding the science well, using foresight to identify open space in the market and in the patent landscape, developing a plan, sticking with it, and filing patents aggressively. Their effort, as reflected in patent filings, has been balanced between (1) a highly focused effort to develop medically appropriate formulations and methods of preparation, and (2) a broad view of medical conditions that may be responsive to cannabinoid treatment. As a model for smaller companies, a balance between a tight focus and a broader reach such as that may be instructive."
David Cohen, Ph.D., is a patent consultant based in Oakland, California. He has a background in biological sciences and experience in the pharmaceutical industry. At a career crossroads, he crossed over into patent law, and as a patent agent, now consults with biotechnology and medical device companies. He's recently developed an interest in the cannabis patent landscape and has become affiliated with the Mazakali Capital Advisory Group of San Francisco.
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