Novel drug delivery platform DehydraTECH masks unwanted tastes, improves onset speed and increases the bioavailability of active pharmaceutical ingredients
Cannabis is the current focus, but the company is eyeing massive markets such as nicotine and painkillers
Lexaria is gaining traction in the US and signing multiple revenue-generating agreements with food and beverage companies
The Kelowna, British Columbia-based company developed and markets DehydraTECH, which masks unwanted tastes, improves onset speed and increases the bioavailability of active pharmaceutical ingredients in a simple and cost-effective platform.
In 2013, Lexaria’s management decided to pivot from oil to cannabis and within a year had acquired the rights to DeydraTECH, which is now the company’s main focus.
Essentially, DehydraTECH allows cannabidiol (CBD) and other oils to be dehydrated into an odourless, tasteless powder and mixed with xanthan gum, corn flour and other base ingredients which can then be added to foods, drinks and creams.
It also allows drugs and vitamins – in the case of cannabis, CBD – to enter the bloodstream faster than existing drug delivery platforms.
While cannabis is the main market right now, Lexaria is developing DehydraTECH for other markets as well, such as nicotine and painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs for short.
According to Lexaria’s CEO Chris Bunka, CBD-infused food and beverages treated with DehydraTECH taste better, smell better, work quicker and have a higher level of effectiveness.
Recently a new version of the company’s DehydraTECH delivery platform has been developed.
Bunka says this new version provides significant improvements geared for use in solid oral dosage forms like capsules, tablets and pills for the pharmaceutical and supplement markets, as well as for cannabis.
DehydraTECH 2.0 showed more than a 100% improvement over the original version in delivering CBD into the bloodstream in initial testing.
It also delivered an exceptional improvement of CBD into brain tissue as compared to standard industry formulations, meaning that Lexaria is starting to demonstrate the ability to deliver the API through the blood-brain barrier and into receptor cells.
Similar to other cannabis-involved companies, local laws will probably be a significant growth driver during the rest of 2019. Canada recently legalized CBD-infused edibles for sale in October, and across the border in the US, more states are also expected to follow the likes of Colorado and California to legalize recreational cannabis.
Revenue generation comes from a variety of licensee partners, from startup companies to Altria Corp, owners of the Marlboro cigarette brand. The tobacco giant invested up to US$12 million in Lexaria in January 2019 to help fund research and development of DedydraTECH. Altria will pay Lexaria Nicotine a royalty on revenue generated from the sale of nicotine products containing DehydraTECH™ and holds the option to acquire 100% ownership in Lexaria Nicotine.
In July, Lexaria entered into a partnership with Univeral Hemp LLC, which manufactures hemp-derived bulk ingredients to the nutraceutical and consumer packaged goods industries to use in CBD-based food ingredients. Universal Hemp plans to make its CBD-infused bulk food ingredients available throughout the USA immediately, and in Canada when regulations permit.
The deal will work under a royalty agreement, but the deal is worth a minimum of around US$3.75 million.
On the research and development front, Lexaria plans to perform further studies to fully characterize Enhanced DehydraTECH and will work throughout 2019 to optimize implementation into the best product applications for its licensee partners. Although the current tests were limited to CBD absorption, Lexaria expects knowledge from the current innovation to apply equally to THC as well to enhance formulation innovation for nicotine and various pharmaceutical compounds already named within Lexaria’s patent portfolio.
What the CEO says
CEO Bunka is Lexaria’s largest shareholder and its self-described trumpeter-in-chief.
“We can actually provide these ingredients, get it into the hands of consumers so that they can enjoy the products they already like," he said.
“One of the things that makes Lexaria different is that we are international – we have current operations in Canada and the US, we’re in negotiations in Mexico and Europe. Our technology is a really powerful technology and it’s starting to really gain traction, especially in the US.”
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