Oral Film Delivery Could Aid Psychedelic Drug Studies
INN chatted with IntelGenx, whose technology could help psychedelics companies with their research in the growing space.
As the market watches excitedly for developments in the psychedelic drug-making process, ancillary options are beginning to play a role in the industry at large.
One company has already moved forward with two critical partnerships aimed at determining its technology‘s potential as a delivery method for novel psychedelic drugs.
That technology belongs to IntelGenx (TSXV:IGX,OTCQB:IGXT), a Quebec-based medical company specializing in the advancement of oral film delivery solutions. Oral films are small screens consumed by patients to deliver a drug into the system.
ATAI, Cybin may use IntelGenx tech in studies
The psychedelics industry is still in its early stages, with companies investigating the medical benefits of novel drugs based on psychedelic compounds.
Broadly speaking, the goal for these companies is to complete arduous clinical trials in pursuit of approvals from medical authorities — primarily the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Dr. Horst Zerbe, founder and CEO of IntelGenx, told the Investing News Network (INN) he believes these companies will pave the way for a psychedelics revolution.
“I think it’s very logical,” Zerbe said when asked about the potential these drugs hold to help treat mental health conditions. “If the initial clinical trials confirm what the expectation is, then I think these things have a great future. I absolutely believe that.”
IntelGenx closed on separate deals with ATAI Life Sciences and Cybin, two psychedelics companies researching the use of psychedelic substances like psilocybin as a way to treat mental health disorders.
ATAI and Cybin are engaged in different evaluations of psychedelic drug programs, and as it stands IntelGenx’s agreements with both companies are in the feasibility stage. That means researchers are working to find out if the oral film technology from IntelGenx will work as planned for ATAI and Cybin.
Zerbe told INN his company’s potential entry into psychedelics excites him, but it’s still too early to gauge the success of its venture. According to the IntelGenx executive, the studies will require four to six months before a prototype can be developed, which may lead to implementation in a clinical evaluation.
In his own estimation, Zerbe believes in approximately a year the company and its shareholders will have a good idea as to the efficacy of using oral film with psychedelics.
IntelGenx signed its deals with ATAI and Cybin this past summer, relatively close to one another.
Potential benefits of oral film technology for psychedelics
Zerbe told INN the primary feature of oral film technology as a delivery method for novel psychedelic drugs is the improved efficacy of absorption into the patient’s system.
Thanks to this tech, the drug compound avoids interacting with a natural metabolism process found in the liver, according to Cybin’s chief medical officer Dr. Jukka Karjalainen.
In a statement, Cybin’s medical expert confirmed the idea is for the technology to allow for better consumption thanks to orally dissolving psilocybin rather than capsules.
“In addition, the dose of psilocybin administered by an orally-dissolving film is expected to be a fraction of what is required in oral capsules,” Karjalainen said. “Taken together, these features have the potential to increase both the safety and efficacy of psilocybin when administered in this manner.”
Cybin’s co-founder and COO, Paul Glavine, added that the delivery method would also “provide faster-acting relief for individuals with anxiety disorders who require more immediate symptom relief.”
In a separate statement, Florian Brand, CEO of ATAI, said this partnership will bring key advantages to its studies of psychedelics to treat depression, anxiety and addiction.
“IntelGenx’s film technology is very well-suited for our pharmaceutical-grade psychedelic candidates, offering ATAI the potential to deliver treatments to everyone in need of new therapeutic options.”
Despite the investment interest that psychedelics as an industry is receiving at the moment, primarily due to the blockbuster initial public offering from Compass Pathways, IntelGenx sees its business as a complement to the heady potential of these novel drugs.
The year so far has been challenging for the share price of the company. Over a year-to-date period, the company has declined in value over 70 percent with a price per share orbiting well below a dollar.
Even so, Douglas Loe, an equity analyst with Echelon Wealth Partners, holds a “buy” rating on shares of the company alongside a price target of C$0.90.
On Thursday (October 8) the company closed the trading session with a non-change for the day, resulting in a price per share of C$0.20.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Cybin is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.
The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.