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Lexaria Bioscience's DehydraTECH drug delivery system can unlock more effective CBD — and may even help fight COVID-19

Snapshot

DehydraTECH masks unwanted taste, improves onset speed and increases bioavailability of active pharmaceutical ingredients in a simple and cost-effective platform

Person holding beaker of oil facing away while the sun sets

Quick facts: Lexaria Bioscience Corp.

Price: 6.78 CAD

CSE:LXX
Market: CSE
Market Cap: $34.61 m
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  • Novel drug delivery platform DehydraTECH masks unwanted tastes, improves onset speed, increases bioavailability of active ingredients
  • Cannabis is the current focus, but company eyeing massive markets such as nicotine and painkillers
  • Currently working on using DehydraTECH to deliver antiviral drugs and help in the global fight against coronavirus

What Lexaria Bioscience does:

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (CSE:LXX) (OTCMKTS:LXRP) is a Canadian company with a patented technology that promises to change the way drugs are delivered into the body.

The Kelowna, British Columbia-based company has 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, cornflour 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, Lexaria is developing DehydraTECH for other markets as well, such as nicotine and painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs for short.

The company is also currently working on using DehydraTECH to deliver antiviral drugs, which could help in the global fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).

How it is doing:

Lexaria kicked off the new year with an uplisting, joining the US Nasdaq exchange on January 12. In conjunction with the move, the company also priced a public offering worth as much as $11 million for research and development studies, patent and legal costs associated, and general working capital purposes.

In a statement laying out its strategy for 2021, Lexaria identified four areas of focus for DehydraTECH when pursuing out-licensing strategies with existing drug manufacturers: Heart disease, including hypertension, utilizing CBD; reduced-risk methods of delivering non-combusted nicotine; improved antiviral drug delivery for applications including COVID-19, influenza, herpes, hepatitis and AIDS; and hemp-based CBD B2B applications.

On February 11, Lexaira announced that it was expanding its applied research and development (R&D) program in 2021 with a particular focus on DehydraTECH-enabled CBD for hypertension. The company’s hypertension program now consists of five planned studies, three of which were previously announced on February 1 (HYPER-A21-1, HYPER-A21-2, and HYPER-H21-1). Study design for HYPER-A21-1 and HYPER-A21-2, both animal studies, has been completed, and dosing is expected to begin in late February or early March.

With regard to COVID-19, Lexaria announced on December 22, 2020, that it had commissioned two studies to evaluate DehydraTECH’s ability to enhance the delivery and efficacy of four additional antiviral drugs, including remdesivir, a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NtRTI) approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October for the treatment of coronavirus in cases of hospitalization. 

On February 1 this year, the company said the first of these studies, VIRAL-A20-2, had completed its initial design phase and a contract has been entered with the third-party laboratory that will be performing the work. It said animal dosing is expected in February/March with results in May/June, followed by analysis and reporting. The second study, VIRAL-A20-3, is still in the initial design planning stages.

In December, a rodent antiviral study found that DehydraTECH was able to “significantly” improve the delivery of two classes of antiviral drugs being investigated as treatments for COVID19. Many antiviral drugs are currently administered via injection, the company said, a process that usually requires a healthcare professional and makes mass dosing more complicated and costly. Lexaria believes DehydraTECH could make it possible for some of these drugs to be administered using an oral tablet or capsule. 

On the hemp front, Lexaria previously reported six-fold growth in its CBD B2B processing division of more than 500% in its fiscal first quarter ended November 30, 2020. Demand from corporate purchasers for DehydraTECH-enabled CBD powders is expected to exceed 8 million servings during the current quarter and to continue to rise into 2021, the group said.

The company has doubled down on CBD and announced a deal in November to sell its non-pharmaceutical THC assets to Hill Street Beverage Company (CVE:BEER), a company in which Lexaria owns a large position.

In the boardroom, in January, Lexaria announced the appointment of Al Reese Jr as a director. Certified accountant Reese has over 40 years' experience in public and private businesses and was finance chief at a former Nasdaq-listed energy company, where he arranged transactions totaling more than US$10 billion over two decades. 

Inflection points:

  • More news on studies using DehydraTECH to fight coronavirus
  • Continued expansion of CBD powder processing
  • More clients for CBD nanoemulsion

What the boss says:

Lexaria CEO Chris Bunka believes DehydraTECH could play an important role in fighting the coronavirus. 

“We are excited at this progress towards our pilot human study using our patented DehydraTECH platform in the delivery of antiviral drugs, and are continuing the process towards regulatory approval so we can advance this important study,” CEO Chris Bunka said in a statement in September. 

“We are pleased to have started an animal study using DehydraTECH on certain potential COVID-19 drugs under investigation,” he said. “Not only will this study help to determine whether DehydraTECH is capable of delivering higher proportionate doses of the antiviral drugs than generic versions of the drugs, but the outcomes should also be beneficial in gaining regulatory approval for the planned human study.”

Contact the author at jon.hopkins@proactiveinvestors.com

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