Biotech

Ahead of the Curve ™

The Medical Cannabis And Cannabinoid Landscape

Mar 8 2019

Report by Cowen’s Phil Nadeau, Ph.D. and Laura Christianson, M.D.

Optimism is increasing for the role of cannabis and derivatives in medicine. Here we provide a brief primer on the evolving medical cannabis and cannabinoid space, discussing the science, companies and institutions involved, clinical programs underway, evolving regulatory landscape, and patent protections possible for cannabinoid therapeutics.


Cannabis And Cannabinoids Have Shown Promise Across A Range Of Indications, Prompting Investor Interest
While the full potential of legal cannabis in the health care sector is only now beginning to come into focus, early indicators suggest that the potential is considerable. Long confined to marginal networks of medical dispensaries, the cannabis healthcare sector has expanded into several science-based business lines. Cannabinoid-based biopharmaceuticals have shown promise in the treatment of a number of conditions, including refractory epilepsy, spasticity, autism, schizophrenia, glioblastoma, pain and anorexia. Potential products range from over-the-counter (OTC) products to complex biotech treatments.

The development of the space has not gone unnoticed, and investor interest has been piqued. Nonetheless, the role of cannabis—and its various cannabinoids –in medicine is just beginning to be understood. Important questions to be answered include: In what therapeutic areas are cannabinoids a viable treatment option? Just how safe are cannabinoids? What companies will develop marketable cannabinoid products? How will these companies maintain market share? With cannabinoid research relatively nascent, there are few clear answers. Here we provide a “lay of the land” and framework for understanding the evolving medical cannabis space.

A Primer On An Emerging Industry
In this report, we (1) examine the active cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid pathways through which they work, (2) highlight companies with medical cannabis or cannabinoid biopharmaceutical programs, (3) identify ongoing clinical trials, examining in more detail those with data read-outs anticipated in 2019, (4) discuss key factors (route of administration, bioavailability, and dose) likely to contribute to the ultimate success of cannabinoid therapeutics, (5) describe the evolving regulatory landscape, and (6) provide insight into the potential patent protections.

 

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