HempWire Editorial Coverage: The emergence of a legal recreational cannabis sector has drawn attention away from the medical cannabis market. However, many companies continue to move forward in this strong sector, benefiting from extensive research and development work. PreveCeutical Medical, Inc. (CSE: PREV) (OTCQB: PRVCF) (FSE: 18H) is developing new cannabis-based medicines and delivery systems through partnership with researchers in Australia. Invictus MD Strategies Corporation (TSX-V: GENE) (OTC: IVITF) has created a network of profitable growing facilities that allowed the company to pay out a million-dollar dividend in 2016, the first dividend payout by a Canadian cannabis company, and Radient Technologies, Inc. (TSX-V: RTI) is partnering with cannabis companies to produce medical cannabis extracts. Already the owner of a large growing facility, WeedMD, Inc. (TSX-V: WMD) is in the process of creating 610,000 square feet of greenhouse space that will increase its cannabis production from 1,500kg to 33,000kg over two phases of expansion. Wildflower Marijuana, Inc. (SUN: CNX) sells a range of cannabis-based products, including vaporizers and soap, and is set to expand in the lucrative California market through new licenses in Los Angeles.
Recreational Cannabis’s Big Brother
A lot of attention in the cannabis industry is currently focused on the recreational market. A few nations and states, most notably Canada and California, have legalized recreational cannabis or are on the road to legalization. It’s a huge deal commercially, as companies prepare to exploit new markets. But in the background, the medical sector continues to make leaps forward in cannabis use.
Despite tight restrictions limiting research, a number of different medical benefits from cannabis have already been found. Best known are its use in managing chronic pain and alleviating the nausea and vomiting that follow chemotherapy. Some evidence indicates it might also be effective in dealing with neurological problems, including multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Scientists are also exploring the use of cannabis in treating HIV and AIDS patients, as well as those suffering posttraumatic stress disorder and a range of other ailments. With so much potential, it’s little wonder that medical cannabis companies are examining every opportunity to leverage their presence in the market.
Prevention, Not Just Cure
PreveCeutical Medical, Inc. (CSE: PREV) (OTCQB: PRVCF) (FSE: 18H) is among the companies committed to researching and developing new cannabis-based treatments.
Founded in 2015, PreveCeutical is the creation of Stephen and Kimberly Van Deventer. Entrepreneurs with extensive experience in venture capital and business development, they have been working together since 2009. As the minds behind Cornerstone Global Partners, they supported the emergence of other companies with significant presence in the medical cannabis sector.
The Van Deventers’ involvement in this sector peaked their interest in health and wellness. They started looking into how they could use their business skills in offering new treatments to health-conscious consumers. Their aim was to combine scientific research with the benefits of natural remedies in order to provide the best of both worlds. PreveCeutical was founded to support this objective, with a focus on preventive medicine, as reflected in its name.
PreveCeutical has shown a strong commitment to working with researchers, teaming up with research centers to develop new and improved options for treatment. The company’s early work has focused on acute problems such as cancer, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, pain management and neurological disorders. That initial focus has naturally led to work with cannabis because of the drug’s use in tackling many of these ongoing ailments.
With its organic and nature identical products, PreveCeutical is well oriented to appeal to consumers looking for ethically sourced and effective treatments for diseases that other drugs are struggling to treat.
Research into Cannabinoids
This week marks an important moment in PreveCeutical’s efforts to improve healthcare through cannabis.
In fulfillment of an agreement announced earlier this year, the first in a series of cannabis shipments has been shipped to the Pharmacy Australia Centre for Excellence (PACE) at the University of Queensland. The cannabis flowers and oils have been provided by Aurora Cannabis, Inc. (TSX: ACB) (OTCQX: ACBFF) as part of a deal with PreveCeutical. Grown within Canada’s carefully licensed and increasingly sophisticated cannabis industry, the flowers and oils will be used by PreveCeutical’s Australian researchers to create and improve cannabis treatments.
Such international work is made complicated by the legal status of cannabis, which varies significantly from one country to another, and is tightly controlled even in territories where it can be legally sold. For this one project, the companies have had to obtain licenses for the export of cannabis from Canada and for that cannabis to be brought into Australia for research purposes. Strict standards have to be met for any sort of work on these products.
PreveCeutical’s partnership with Aurora is an important one in that it has the potential to bring considerable benefit for both companies. As part of the deal, Aurora has received rights including the option to either license resulting technology for Canada and Australia or to opt for a royalty arrangement on product sales (http://cnw.fm/8iRlH). This agreement shows faith in PreveCeutical’s ability to provide effective, profitable treatments based on its research.
“We see an important market for cannabis-based products that are more narrowly targeted at specific therapeutic areas but that are higher value add and being involved with initiatives such as PreveCeutical’s is part of our strategy to gain access to these types of products,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora.
Expanding into Australia
To further support its research efforts in Australia, PreveCeutical recently incorporated a new subsidiary in the country (http://cnw.fm/3kcN2).
Led by its director of International Operations, Dr. Maher Khaled, PreveCeutical (Australia) Pty Ltd will work closely with the company’s chief research officer, Dr. Harry Parekh, to advance the company’s goal of providing new health care options based on rigorous research.
This expansion into Australia has been shaped by the country’s strong academic and clinical research, as well as support from government programs. The Australian government supports scientific innovation through a range of programs and incentives, including a research and development tax break. This provides a 43.5 percent tax offset for eligible R&D activities, from which PreveCeutical’s new subsidiary will benefit.
The company’s Australian research program is centered around the Sol-gel system (http://cnw.fm/on3FQ). An innovative drug delivery system, Sol-gel consists of medicine in liquid form that patients administer via the nasal cavity. There, it forms a gel that stays in place, slowly and steadily releasing active ingredients into the bloodstream.
Sol-gel is ideally suited to deliver drugs targeting the brain. When delivered by traditional methods such as pills and injections, medications have to travel through complex bodily systems, slowing down their arrival and resulting in the filtering out of much of the medicine, thereby limiting the effectiveness of a given dose. Sol-gel uses hydrogels and delivery close to the brain to bypass many of these barriers.
Given cannabis’s potential in tackling pain and neurological symptoms, many cannabis-based medicines are likely to target the brain. With Sol-gel, PreveCeutical may be in a strong position to provide one of the most effective delivery systems for a growing class of drugs.
Using Cannabis as a Cure
Many companies are now involved in providing cannabis-based medical treatments.
Invictus MD Strategies (TSX-V: GENE) (OTC: IVITF) has a foothold in the Canadian cannabis market and with an eye to future growth. Founded in 2014, the company has a number of licensed growing facilities and over 250 acres of property ready to be turned into cultivation space. The one-million-dollar dividend it paid out in 2016 was the first dividend payout by a Canadian cannabis company. With a platform that includes ancillary products such as fertilizers and nutrients, the company benefits from all elements of cannabis production.
Radient (TSX-V: RTI) specializes in the extraction of compounds from biological materials through microwave-assisted processing. This patented technology platform lets the company extract the beneficial elements from all manner of plants for use in food, pharmaceuticals, personal care and other products. This includes working with cannabis growers to produce cannabis extracts for medical use.
WeedMD (TSX-V: WMD) is a medical cannabis company with a 26,0000-square-foot growing space in Ontario. A producer of consistently high-quality cannabis, the company is expanding as the Canadian cannabis market grows. The first phase of an ambitious project to expand its growing facilities is currently underway, with the aim of creating 610,000 square feet of greenhouse space. This will increase the company’s cannabis production from 1,500kg to 21,000kg per year, with a goal of reaching 33,000kg with phase two of the expansion program.
Wildflower Marijuana (SUN: CNX) is focused on providing cannabis health and wellness products for the U.S. market. The company sells a range of products using cannabinoids, including vaporizers, capsules and soap. Its recent acquisition of retail and cultivation licenses in Los Angeles may allow the company to expand in the increasingly lucrative California market.
With so many companies providing a diverse range of products and services, the medical cannabis market continues to go strong, even as recreational cannabis draws the headlines.
For more information on PreveCeutical, visit PreveCeutical Medical Inc. (CSE: PREV) (OTCQB: PRVCF) (FSE: 18H).
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