Lexeria, a leading bioscience company, is looking to shake up the status quo. Their patented drug delivery technology DehyraTECH™ is a potential game changer that can make already approved drugs more effective.
DehydraTECH helps to deliver drugs more quickly and more effectively from the mouth to the bloodstream. According to Chris Bunka, Chairman & CEO of Lexaria “this has meant a reduction in time from 90 or 120 minutes down to as little as five minutes. That’s a significant time savings, especially if you’re in pain or are having a seizure”.
Bio-absorption into brain tissue is showing as also greatly improved. Repeated animal studies have revealed absorption increases of up to 1,900%, which is significant for things like blood pressure drugs, because high blood pressure is modulated by the central nervous system, i.e. the brain.
John Docherty, the company’s President and Director explains the science behind DehydraTECH. “Generally, DehydraTECH formulations are prepared with long chain fatty acids. These are things like oleic acid rich sunflower oil, and these fatty acids enhance absorption in your oral cavity as well as in your stomach and intestines. DehydraTECH formulations piggyback on this absorption to deliver the drug more effectively”.
While the applications for DehydraTECH are vast, Lexaria is focusing its efforts on three main applications: the reduction of hypertension; antiviral drug therapies for diseases like HIV AIDS and Covid-19; and the use of oral nicotine as an alternative to cigarettes.
So far, the results have been encouraging. On the hypertension front, research published by Lexaria in 2019 shows that CBD used with the DehydraTECH process lowers blood pressure by about 5% even with a small 90mg dose, with no side effects. Human clinical studies are underway now with larger 300mg doses and newer, more advanced formulations in the hope of achieving a 10% or greater reduction, which would make this treatment a viable contender in the massive hypertension market.
When it comes to DehydraTECH’s ability to deliver antiviral drugs, the potential is just as exciting. John Docherty explains why. “There’s numerous antiviral therapies in development on the market today, but these drugs are fat soluble and therefore poorly absorbed if taken orally. So, they have to be administered by way of injection. Lexaria’s ground-breaking work could pave the way for easier and more widespread distribution of these drugs in oral formats such as pills, capsules and tablets”.
Lexaria’s most significant foothold to date is with tobacco companies. So far, they have attracted interest from two of the world’s largest entities as part of research to develop a safe and effective alternative to cigarettes. Altria, the makers of the Marlboro brand in the United States, has a worldwide non-exclusive license to use DehydraTECH technology for oral nicotine products. Further, British American Tobacco is currently engaged in a formal research collaboration with Lexaria.
If the applications for DehydraTECH are vast, so is the market potential. According to Bunka, annually “The hypertension market alone is nearly $30 billion dollars. The antiviral market is a $40 billion dollar market, and the nicotine market is a $900 billion dollar market. All of these areas are places where DehydraTECH has great benefits to offer”.
Lexaria is targeting markets with an annual value of well over $1 trillion dollars, putting them in the company of leaders including West Pharmaceutical Services NYSE:WST (www.westpharma.com) and Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc NASDAQ:ORMP (www.oramed.com) and far surpassing the potential of competitors like Willow Biosciences TSX:WLLW (https://www.willowbio.com/); and Cardiol Therepeutics TSX:CRDL (https://www.cardiolrx.com/) that are focused on more narrowly defined sectors.
All this potential has Bunka thinking big. “GW Pharmaceuticals is chasing the pediatric seizure market. It’s about a billion-dollar market in the United States. That company just got purchased by Jazz Pharma (https://www.jazzpharma.com/) for over seven billion dollars. If we had just half that valuation, we’d be worth over $3 billion dollars”.
If anyone can get Lexaria over the finish line, it’s Bunka. He has taken companies to successful exits in multiple industries. Today, he and his management team are keeping their eyes on the prize with plans for their busiest year of R & D ever. Key study results will follow.
“Once we have that data, we’ll be able to knock on the doors of Big Pharma and the biotech industry and hopefully establish partnerships similar to the ones we already have,” Bunka said.
Lexaria is already generating revenues from licencing agreements with Altria and British American Tobacco. Bunka expects to enter into additional licencing agreements in the near-term as the company continues to develop some of the more exciting opportunities ahead of them.