InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc (TSE:IN) Developing Treatment for Epidermolysis Bullosa
InMed Pharmaceuticals Inc (TSE:IN) (OTCMKTS:IMLFF) (FRA:MWG2) is a drug development company focused on cannabinoid-based medicine. President and CEO Eric A. Adams provides an overview of the company’s activities. InMed does not use the cannabis plant for its research and development program; instead, the company is biosynthesizing cannabinoids. InMed is developing a treatment for epidermolysis bullosa (EB) also known as the “butterfly child syndrome.” While its EB treatment has the potential to be a blockbuster drug, similar to Epidiolex in its impact, it is in the clinical trial phase and is still a few years away from market. In the interim, InMed hopes its biosynthesis process will be profitable soon and the company is looking to develop products for skin and eye conditions as well. InMed is in a position to fund this research, having raised $24 million in 2018.
James West: Eric Adams joins me know. He’s the CEO and President of InMed Pharmaceuticals. Eric, how are you today?
Eric A. Adams: I’m doing great, thanks for having me.
James West: You bet, Eric. We had an attempt at a conversation yesterday, but unfortunately, Skype didn’t cooperate with us, so let’s resume the conversation but let’s kick it off again with a quick overview of what exactly InMed Pharmaceuticals is.
Eric A. Adams: Sure. Well, InMed Pharmaceuticals is exactly that: a biopharmaceutical company that is specializing in cannabinoid medicines. So what we’re doing is looking at individual cannabinoids, which are drug components fund also in the marijuana plant, we’re trying to develop those into prescription-based pharmaceuticals to treat diseases with high unmet medical needs.
James West: Okay, and so you’ve got one product that’s actually already quite advanced, and I think it’s important to differentiate for our subscribers that this isn’t just a, it’s not a drug development company, per se, it’s a drug development platform that will be used to create a whole brand new family of cannabis-derived drugs. Is that more or less accurate?
Eric A. Adams: It’s pretty accurate. I mean, we don’t grow any cannabis; we have no association with the plant other than that we understand its genetic makeup and it’s a source for over 100 different cannabinoid drugs. And what we are doing is, we are looking at them individually, we are synthetizing those in a laboratory setting, and we are taking those individual drugs and making products.
James West: So you’re doing the biosynthesis of cannabinoids yourselves?
Eric A. Adams: We intend to, yeah. We’re in the process right now of taking what we’ve learned from a laboratory setting or a benchtop setting, and we’re scaling that up with a number of different partners to commercial scale. So that’s a process that’s going to take us at least 2019 to pull that together; we’ve been working on this biosynthesis process for over four years now, just trying to understand the genes that we need to create in order to get our bacterial system to actually make cannabinoids. So that’s actually been a pretty big hurdle that we’ve gotten over.
So yeah, we’re pretty excited about it, and together with these pharmaceutical partners, these contract manufacturing organizations, we’re going to be, you know, furthering that scale-up process.
James West: Okay. So you’re currently developing a drug that addresses the butterfly syndrome, which is a real orphan sort of segment in the disease world, isn’t it?
Eric A. Adams: It is, it’s a rare disease. Its formal name is epidermolysis bullosa. It is a condition also referred to as butterfly child syndrome, where the integrity of the skin is very poor. So at the slightest tough or scratch you can actually rip the skin, and have an open wound.
And we’re looking at that from two points of view with cannabinoids. First of all, cannabinoids are capable of treating a number of symptoms that these patients are dealing with on a daily basis. That includes things like accelerated wound healing, pain, itch, inflammation, and these cannabinoids are also anti-bacterial in their nature. So one product we believe would be able to address a suite of these symptoms that they have to deal with on a daily basis.
The flip side of that is, we also know that cannabinoids can regulate the keratin production in the body, and keratins are responsible for a subset of these patients, and I should say the mis-regulation of these keratins is responsible for a subset of these patients. So what we’re looking to do is use the right cannabinoids to up-regulate keratins to hopefully lead to some degree of disease reversal in a subset of patients. So it’d kind of a two-pronged approach.
James West: Right, interesting. So that’s fantastic for sufferers of this condition. We were speaking to the analyst at AltaCorp earlier today, David Kideckel, and he was indicating that he felt that GW Pharma Epidiolex was going to become a blockbuster drug to find as a drug that sells over $1 billion in a year. Is there anything in InMed’s pipeline or sort of future plans that contemplates a blockbuster type drug?
Eric A. Adams: Absolutely. So the product, INM750 for EB, while it’s a very small patient population, has a huge potential just because of the amount of product that you need to use on an annual basis. Other products that have been investigated for this indication have been projected to be billion-dollar products. So I think we’re kind of squarely in that billion-dollar category.
Looking downstream, we’re going to be considering products and we’re developing products for glaucoma, which is currently a $6 billion or close to that market, and others for the application to treat pain.
So those are both very big indications and huge sales potential, and you know, we hope to be a competitive player in those markets.
James West: Sure. What’s the timeline to development of these products before they’re in the marketplace?
Eric A. Adams: Well, INM750 is our lead program, currently we anticipate being in our first human clinical trials in the second half of 2019, and that’ll be followed then by more advanced Phase II and Phase III trials down the road. So it’s a little early right now to project what the commercial date for this product would be; we still have a lot of clinical hurdles to get over, and it’ll be a number of factors playing into how quickly we can get through these clinical trials. So I don’t want to speculate on how far; it’s certainly several years away, but you know, how far out in the future is very difficult to say at this point.
James West: Sure. How much money is it going to take you to get there? I mean, do you guys have enough cash on hand to get to your objectives, or are you going to need to do some more capital raises in 2019?
Eric A. Adams: Well, 2018 was a really big year for us in terms of capital raising – I think we raised about $24 million. Currently, in our account, we’ve got about $24 million, $25 million in cash. That’s enough to pay for all of our programs for the next two years or thereabouts. So I think we’re in a very good cash position right now. As we go forward, of course, clinical trials are not inexpensive; we ill have to contemplate, at some point, additional cash raises, but we also have hopes that our biosynthesises process, which we’ll use not only for our own pharmaceutical products but we will make available to other people under licensing agreements. We hope that that will be a cash-positive business before the actual pharmaceutical products actually reach the markets. So that would be a big boost for us if we can actually get to that point.
James West: Sure. Where is the main operational activity of InMed?
Eric A. Adams: Well, we’re located in Vancouver, but we work with contract manufacturers and research organizations around the world. So we’re very active in Israel and Europe and across Canada, and as we begin to expand our clinical trials into Phase II, which would be probably in 2020, we’ll be branching into the Us and into other jurisdictions as ell.
James West: That sounds great. What are the other areas in medical science for which cannabinoids are starting to indicate some real potential?
Eric A. Adams: Well, epilepsy, of course, is what GW has pursued, and they have an approval now in the US for Epidiolex, so if you look at epilepsy and other neurological-type conditions, other cognitive conditions , I think cannabinoids are going to make a real breakthrough there.
Were looking at the topical applications, so our products won’t be ingested, at least not at this stage. So we’re applying them topically to the site of the disease; we think there’s several advantages to doing that. So we’re looking at several skin conditions, we’re looking at diseases of the eye, including glaucoma, and then topical application for pain, so that’s kind of our sweet spot right now. We’ll see, you know, as opportunities arise, we may branch out into other directions, but we’re just scratching the surface. Cannabinoids are going to be a mainstay, I think, in a very broad range of disease categories; these things are active throughout he body, we have receptors for them throughout the body, and I think really, we’re just getting started as a new branch of medicine to treat a wide range of diseases.
James West: Sure. You bet. I look at the price of GW Pharma, which I think is somewhere around $120 USD a share today, and I look at the price of InMed, and you know, I think, if the potential is for the InMed to get a, you know, FDA approved drugs onto the global marketplace, then obviously there’s an in credible opportunity here. And so we’re going to continue to follow your story very closely, and we’ll leave it there for now, but thanks very much for the update, Eric – really appreciate it.
Eric A. Adams: Nice talking to you again and I look forward to next time.
James West: You bet.
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