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Biotech Market Banking on Big Cannabis Returns

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Relatively insulated from economic cycles, the innovation of today’s biotech companies puts them in a position to potentially deliver outsized returns regardless of overall conditions. Medicinal cannabis, a key sector in this industry, is currently driving the largest returns, and it is on pace to exceed US$50 billion in revenues by 2025. As more investors are noticing, positive news continues to flow into the sector in terms of new drug applications, product approvals and pipeline updates. For InMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CSE: IN) (OTCQB: IMLFF) (IMLFF Profile), a preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company at the vanguard of cannabinoid-based bio-pharmacology, market awareness of the company’s drug development pipeline and biosynthesis technology has led to gains of more than 400% over the last year. This level of activity places InMed, currently valued at $100 million, among the ranks of larger cannabis biotechs like GW Pharma (NASDAQ: GWPH), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), Cara Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CARA) and Isodiol International Inc. (CSE: ISOL) (OTC: ISOLF).

Backed by mounting scientific data on the curative effects of CBDs, specialty biotech companies have the opportunity to capitalize on the explosive growth expected in the cannabis-derived pharmaceutical market. The discovery of the human endocannabinoid system dramatically changed both the understanding and the vast potential of cannabinoid therapeutics, and thus has increased acceptance and awareness of the potential of cannabinoids to affect a much broader range of physiological functions than previously considered. With a tsunami of innovation, cannabinoid pharmaceutical companies now research, identify and develop new drug candidates to create unique therapeutics to treat multiple maladies and unmet medical needs.

InMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (CSE: IN) (OTCQB: IMLFF) market traction is based on the company’s proprietary cannabinoid biosynthesis technology, one of three of its core assets and one which serves as the base for its development of its drug-development pipeline of novel therapeutics that leverage the pharmacological benefits of cannabinoids like CBD. As TheSeedInvestor.com asked in a recent article, could InMed be the “next big thing in cannabis?” (http://cnw.fm/JS9lv).

To date, most CBD research and drug development has focused on the most easily isolated CBDs, but multiple curative opportunities are believed to be found in the other 90+ cannabinoids of the marijuana plant. InMed is the only known company with the ability to isolate and bio-identically manufacture all of the naturally occurring CBDs found in the cannabis sativa plant (http://cnw.fm/5BfmB).

Conducted in-house, InMed’s cost-effective biosynthesis process enhances the production, purification and quality control compared to other chemical manufacturing methods, such as chemical synthesis. InMed’s ability to produce its own pharmaceutical grade, bio-identical CBDs also sets it apart from other companies that rely on outside cultivators for their product supply.

In September, InMed filed a provisional patent to protect its biosynthesis program (http://cnw.fm/B7PDd). Once the patent application is converted into an international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application and pursued in key jurisdictions throughout the world, InMed will have significant commercial protection of its technology as it explores the various ways it could have a medical impact on important human diseases. Release of the patent filing sent shares of InMed from $0.27 at market open to an intra-day high of $0.40 a day later – with volume increasing roughly 8-fold to over 2.1 million for two consecutive days. Shares of InMed trading on the U.S. OTC market have continued to climb and just recently clipped a new 52-week high of $0.86.

It’s important to note that InMed’s market gains hinge on more than its biosynthesis program. The company’s portfolio of biomedical assets also includes a proprietary bioinformatics assessment tool that enables the high-efficiency prediction of the therapeutic potential and medicinal properties of individual CBDs against particular medical conditions.

This computer-assisted system employs comprehensive algorithms to integrate data from various bioinformatics databases, including a vast database of the chemical structures of approved pharmaceuticals, with InMed’s proprietary cannabinoid database and know-how. This assessment tool, in combination with the company’s biosynthesis technology and drug development pipeline, provides InMed a competitive advantage and serves as its fundamental value driver for drug discovery.

This unparalleled approach to cannabinoid production, research and targeted drug development could be a game-changer for the market, as many drug development efforts with synthetic derivatives have failed. InMed’s production of CBDs identical to naturally occurring compounds has already led to a growing pipeline of potentially blockbuster drug candidates.

The company is currently developing two products in its drug pipeline headed for clinical trials; INM-750, for the treatment of Epidermolysis Bullosa, and INM-085, for the treatment of Glaucoma. Additionally, the company continues to advance its INM-405 candidate for the treatment of chronic and severe pain.

InMed’s INM-750 for Epidermolysis Bullosa, an orphan disease characterized by extremely fragile skin, has potential global market revenues estimated at $1 billion per year. Another candidate in the pipeline, INM-085 for Glaucoma, has a global market potential in excess of $5 billion, and the company’s development of INM-405 targets the $36+ billion pain market.

In October, InMed provided an update on its pain program with additional pre-clinical results suggesting that peripheral application of certain CBD compounds, either alone or in combination, is effective in the treatment of craniofacial muscle pain disorders without any observed side effects to the central nervous system (http://nnw.fm/1Os9A). With increased pressure for the pharma industry to find non-addictive pain management alternatives with limited side effects, InMed continues to research the potential of non-THC cannabinoids to treat pain using a topical formulation.

Leveraging its proprietary technologies, InMed is rapidly expanding its pipeline of novel cannabinoid therapeutics for a variety of medical conditions. Historically, biotech companies are valued at about three times the peak annual sales of a company’s lead candidate. With a market cap around $100 million, InMed may be significantly undervalued based on its capabilities.

Researching and developing cannabinoids for medical use since 1998 is cannabis biotech leader GW Pharma (NASDAQ: GWPH). Focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform in a broad range of disease areas, GW Pharma has only identified 15 of the 90+ CBDs in the cannabis plant, as noted by TheSeedInvestor.com, and yet currently occupies a market cap of over $3 billion.

GW Pharma commercialized the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug, Sativex, which is approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in numerous countries outside the United States. The company has submitted an NDA to the FDA for its leading development candidate, Epidiolex, a formulation for the treatment of childhood-onset epilepsy disorders like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The company also has several other product candidates in development for treating glioblastoma, schizophrenia and epilepsy.

TheSeedInvestor.com also points out that Dr. Ado Muhammed, chief medical officer of InMed and previously the associate medical director at GW Pharmaceuticals, was instrumental in leading GW Pharma when shares rose from less than $9 in 2013 to more than $130 today.

Another biotech cannabis leader is Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ZYNE), a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid treatments. Zynerba’s ZYN002 CBD gel is the first and only pharmaceutically produced CBD formulated as a patent-protected permeation-enhanced gel and is being studied in children with Fragile X Syndrome, adult epilepsy patients with focal seizures and osteoarthritis. Currently trading around $12, shares of Zynerba have ranged from $5.42-$25.95 over the last year, and the company has a market valuation in excess of $160 million.

Trading between $9 and $28.50 over the last year with a market cap near $430 million, Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CARA) is a clinical-stage biotech company looking to change how pain is treated. Its portfolio includes opioid-based products, anesthetic-based drugs and analgesics that seek to alleviate itch and pain. Cara is developing a new class of medicine called Kappa Opioid Receptor Agonists (KORAs).  KORAs target a completely different receptor in the body, the kappa opioid receptor, to treat pain in a fundamentally new way. The company’s lead pipeline product, CR845, is a peripherally acting KORAs. To date, CR845 has shown in phase 2 clinical trials promising pain relief without many of the traditional side effects of opioids and NSAIDs.

Isodiol International (CSE: ISOL) (OTC: ISOLF) is a leader in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical grade phytochemical (plant-based) compounds and an industry leader in the manufacturing and development of phytoceutical consumer products. Isodiol is one of the world’s largest sources for phyto-cannabinoids and offers high quality, bioactive products from seed to finished product. Isodiol was one of the first to commercialize 99%+ pure, bioactive pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids, micro-encapsulations and nanotechnology for high quality consumable and topical skin care products. Isodiol’s growth strategy includes the development of over-the-counter and pharmaceutical drugs, expanding its phytoceutical portfolio and continued international expansion. Trading around $1.15 per share, Isodiol has a 52-week range of $0.05 to $1.69 and carries $380+ million market capitalization.

Historically, the biotechnology sector has been volatile but it also has delivered some of the market’s greatest returns. Cannabinoid biotechs now lead the way in the sector and, as research continues, a myriad of compounds may soon be developed to unlock a vast range of new therapeutics that could benefit millions of ailing people. New-found cannabinoid therapeutics have the potential to create a bonanza in the biotech sector and early investors could reap extraordinary returns.

As more investors plot their way through biotech opportunities, an increasing number of them recognize the potential value of cannabis-focused contenders like InMed pursuing ways to apply CBDs to treat unmet medical needs.

For more information on InMed Pharmaceuticals, please visit: InMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (CSE: IN) (OTCQB: IMLFF)

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