Improving Bioavailability: Lexaria Tackles the Absorption Problem
June 16th, 2015
Top News, Uncategorized
Lexaria Corporation (OTCQB: LXRP), a food sciences company focused on the delivery of cannabinoid compounds, made news this week when they filed a U.S. utility patent application and an International patent application regarding their lipid infusion technology. The company theorizes that by infusing THC and Cannabidoil’s (also known as CBD’s) into lipids (fats and fatty acids) they will be absorbed into the body at a greater rate then if they are consumed on their own. As is, smoking marijuana delivers the highest bioavailability of THC at an average rate of 30%, while orally consuming marijuana only delivers THC at an average bioavailability rate of 5%.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “cannabidiol (CBD), has great potential for the treatment of chronic and ‘breakthrough’ pain that may occur in certain conditions like cancer. To fulfill this goal, suitable noninvasive drug delivery systems need to be developed for CBD.” It is this gap in suitable delivery systems that Lexaria has targeted with their recently filed patent applications.
The company has filed for US and international patent protection in up to 148 countries, for their unique method of delivery of each of THC; CBD; Nicotine; NSAIDs; and certain Vitamins.
Interview With Chris Bunka, CEO of Lexaria Corp.
In the below interview, Cannabis Financial Network recently took the time to sit down with CEO of Lexaria, Chris Bunka. In the interview Mr. Bunka discusses the recent company news, and provides further insight into the potential applications of their technology.
After reviewing the initial results from their tests done on THC and CBD’s, Lexaria was astute enough to realize that their technology could be applied to a wide range of other fat-soluble molecules.
Part of the recent company PR was explaining that this technology is applicable to nicotine, NSAID’s, and fat-soluble vitamins; combined these 3 industries total over $1 trillion a year in recurring revenue.
Nicotine is particularly interesting as the rise of chewing gums, nicotine patches, and lozenges have genuinely helped millions of people stop smoking tobacco, yet nicotine itself is the main ingredient that these products use. Tobacco companies such as Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) and Reynolds American, Inc. (NYSE: RAI) have been non-existent in this market as they are clearly in the camp of defending smokers and the industry of growing and manufacturing tobacco-based products. The Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) supposedly even paid the Heartland Institute to write a piece titled “In Defense of Smokers,” quite possibly the least convincing article of all time.
The newest players to the nicotine game are companies such as Vapor Corp. (NASDAQ: VPCO), Electronic Cigarettes Intl (OTC: ECIG), and 22nd Century Group Inc. (NYSEMKTS: XXII) who are manufacturing electronic cigarettes. These e-cigs have propylene, glycol, glycerin, nicotine and “flavorings,” but with no government oversight these can hardly be considered a safe alternative.
Lexaria aims to change the standard delivery mechanism system for nicotine to a much safer alternative where the nicotine molecule is embedded into a fat molecule, which can then be placed into a standard food product to be consumed orally. It is this enhanced delivery system that will allow for people that are addicted to nicotine to stop inhaling the hundreds of unnecessary chemicals that are found in smoke, and instead deliver the one and only drug that their body is craving.
Lexaria has confirmed to Cannabis Financial Network that their technology could be applicable to, and that they are exploring recipe development of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and energy bars all infused with nicotine as a safer alternative of nicotine delivery than cigarettes, and more natural than E-cigarettes. Lexaria already has similar products under development for the delivery of CBD, available nationwide in Vipova Tea.
The Bioavailability of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug’s (NSAID’s)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a class of drugs that provides analgesic (pain-killing) and antipyretic (fever-reducing) effects, and, in higher doses, anti-inflammatory effects.
One of the most common of these drugs is Advil (Ibuprofen), manufactured by Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), which being an analgesic means that it is non-narcotic and can be used as a non-addictive alternative to narcotics. Ibuprofen was originally created because aspirin caused gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers in many people.
Lexaria’s technology aims to help with the delivery system of NSAID’s in two different ways; the first is by increasing the bioavailability of the product, which for orally administered ibuprofen is approximately 80%, and the second is by allowing the product to be incorporated into a food product.
As any parent can tell you, trying to get younger children to swallow pills can be a very frustrating endeavor. If Lexaria is able to prove that their technology not only allows for greater bioavailability of a drug, but also is able to make any NSAID be incorporated into a food product, the potential for a seismic shift in how drugs are administered to children could be right around the corner.
Can a One a Day Vitamin Really Take Care of Your Needs?
The small intestine is the primary site of digestion and serves as a major site of vitamin absorption. Bioavailable nutrients enter the body at a cellular level in the small intestine where they are absorbed into blood capillaries and lymph fluids through the processes of osmosis, diffusion and active transport.
Using vitamin C as an example, the bioavailability rate varies widely dependent on the saturable nature of the vitamin along with the dose used. In small quantities (less then 20 mg) vitamin C can have as high as a 98% bioavailability rate, but in larger doses taken “one-a-day” in an attempt to provide higher daily exposures, the bioavailability drops to as little as 16%.
This obviously presents a problem: with 75 – 90 mg’s a day being the recommended dose, someone either needs to take 4 vitamin pills a day of 20 mg to obtain maximum absorption rates throughout the day, or they need to take a single 160 mg pill in which half of the available vitamin C is wasted. This presents an entirely different problem though as a single large dose administered orally in capsule or tablet form saturates the body’s ability to transport and absorb bioavailable vitamin C, often leading to gastrointestinal problems.
Increasing Gross Margins by Increasing Bioavailability
After looking through the above examples there is a consistent trend, if a company can increase the bioavailability of a product they will need to use less of it during manufacturing, thus increasing gross margins. Not only is this an important development for the potential profitability and competitive landscape of an inventive company like Lexaria, but it also leads to less waste industry-wide, and a lower likelihood of over dosage of any of the molecules names in their patent applications.
This really is a win-win situation: not only does the manufacturer need to use less of the product, but the body also suffers less of the negative side effects of over dosing. Costs per dose might fall – or profit margins for Lexaria rise – compared to sections of the affected industries that do not employ this new technology.
In Vitro Testing Has Begun
John Docherty M.Sc., the president of Lexaria, has over twenty years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. Mr. Docherty was President and a board member of PharmaDerm Laboratories Ltd., President and Chief Operating officer of Helix BioPharma Corp. (TSX:HBP), and held positions at Astra Pharma Inc., Nu-Pharm Inc. and PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ former global pharmaceutical industry consulting practice. Needless to say, he is a man with significant industry experience.
Mr. Docherty’s experience has thus far proven instrumental in implementing their current business plan to develop and commercialize cannabinoid products. CEO Chris Bunka states “Lexaria could not have found a better-equipped person to accelerate our transformation into a food-sciences company focused on unique methods of delivering compounds like cannabidiol, through popular food categories.”
On May 20th the company announced that it had engaged Absorption Systems LP to begin third party in vitro tests using a human intestinal model. The tests are designed to evaluate the cannabidiol permeability of the patent-pending technology, and should have results within 3-4 months of that original announcement. The 3-4 month time frame is a relatively quick turnaround within the realm of testing, as the average time for a FDA clinical trial via the standard approval process is approximately 6.5 years.
If Lexaria’s testing proves the efficacy of their technology, virtually every manufacturer of nicotine, NSAID’s, and vitamins should be willing to talk to the company for the potential of licensing their technology. At this point the lowest hanging fruit may be orally consumed marijuana products, as their current 8% average bioavailability leaves huge room for improvement.
Investors interested in learning more about Lexaria Corp. can visit them at their website at http://www.lexariaenergy.com/.
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