Lexaria, delivering active ingredients to patients, could deliver for investors tooThe company that turns CBD into blood pressure control might be poised for a surgeTakeawaysOne critical component to over-the-counter drugs is how efficiently and how quickly they enter the bloodstream.Lexaria’s DehydraTECHTM platform has proven to be an effective method to deliver active ingredients, with human tests demonstrating …
Lexaria, delivering active ingredients to patients, could deliver for investors too
The company that turns CBD into blood pressure control might be poised for a surge
- One critical component to over-the-counter drugs is how efficiently and how quickly (or not) they enter the bloodstream.
- Lexaria’s DehydraTECHTM platform has proven to be an effective method to deliver active ingredients, with human tests demonstrating its ability with CBD as a hypertension treatment and animal tests demonstrating its ability with various antivirals.
- DehydraTECH enabled products are on shelves in more than 7,000 retail outlets in the U.S., and use cases keep expanding.
- The book-to-market ratio suggests a great deal of confidence in management.
Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (NASDAQ: LEXX) has been working on making pills easier to swallow since 2006, and its absorption into shareholder portfolios has been speeding up of late, just like their technology.
DehydraTECH: a cure for other cures
Lexaria’s tentpole technology is DehydraTECH, a simple, cost-effective tandem of formulation and production steps which masks unpleasant taste and odor, avoids much of the impact on the liver, increases the drug’s absorption into the body and, most of all, reduces the time before the patient starts feeling the effect.
The company recently issued partial results from a clinical study evaluating how well DehydraTECH processes CBD for potential application against hypertension. Blood pressure was reduced in both male and female volunteers within the first 10 to 50 minutes of the study, reinforcing pre-existing findings demonstrating superior performance over other CBD controls. The therapy was well-tolerated, with no serious side effects.
“We are very encouraged by these early results in our 2021 hypertension program,” said Lexaria CEO Chris Bunka. “Lexaria’s technology enabled a rapid and sustained drop in blood pressure, especially systolic pressure and particularly in Stage 2 hypertensive volunteers.”
That CBD would be among the first use cases for such a platform as DehydraTECH makes sense. FDA-approved for pediatric seizure purposes since 2018, it has gained a great deal of traction over a short period of time. While its most closely identified delivery vector is hemp cigarettes, these can damage lungs as much as pills can damage livers.
Hypertension represents a new market for CBD. And a potential huge win for Lexaria. It is among the world’s leading health issues and provides a $28 billion annual market for pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, DehydraTECH has demonstrated the ability to increase bio-absorption for the cannabinoid by a factor of 10.
CBD at CVS?
The company, based in Kelowna – a city of 150,000 in the Canadian province of British Columbia – announced that DehydraTECH is embedded in consumer products that can be found in more than 7,000 stores in the U.S. alone.
“Lexaria’s technology is enabling increased market share and sales growth for our continually growing list of corporate clients,” Bunka said. “We are delighted to help these innovators of today and leaders of tomorrow offer their clients superior performance and experiences.”
While a great many of those clients are specific to CBD, there is a much broader market for DehydraTECH. Chief among those are antivirals which, in response to COVID-19, are having a moment. Still, the same technology can be applied to rendering treatments for AIDS and other infectious diseases more effective. Antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as such therapeutics as remdesivir, have all been shown to be enhanced by DehydraTECH in animal studies.
And yet, as is often the case with small biopharma firms, investors have been slow to recognize Lexaria’s upside as this company just listed on the Nasdaq in January.
Taking its own medicine
LEXX was on an upward trend and trading around $8.50 per share in mid-July, about a dollar away from a 12-month peak. That momentum gave investors the confidence to exercise another $3.8 million in existing warrants and, with the risk of dilution setting in, the stock price retreated to about $5.50. Considering Lexaria’s market cap is still almost $30 million, maybe a one-third drop in share price is a bit too excessive a reaction compared to only a one-tenth expansion in share dilution. And, the company appears to have about $12 million in cash, roughly $2 per share.
The fundamentals have only changed for the better over the past few months. The company operates an in-house research laboratory and holds a robust intellectual property portfolio with 21 patents granted and over 50 patent applications pending around the world. The company is vertically integrated with subsidiaries in the hemp, oral nicotine, and pharmaceutical industries.
It should also be noted that the July stock price surge came on the news of DehydraTECH’s efficacy in connection with a colchicine, a COVID-19 therapy.
Its balance sheet is clean, but that is in large part due to Lexaria’s ability to raise money on financial markets. Earnings are not what one would hope for, and yet the market cap is roughly 10x assets, suggesting high confidence in management. It will be interesting to see where LEXX goes from here. No need to worry about the company’s managers, though; their blood pressure is well-controlled.
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