Slowly but surely cannabis is losing the stigma that has plagued it for close to one hundred years. Even some who frown on its use for recreational purposes are willing to consider that there may be therapeutic benefits in extracts of the cannabis sativa plant and so, increasingly, cannabinoids are being investigated to determine their effectiveness to treat a variety of debilitating medical conditions. Cannabinoid pharma is emerging as an entirely new industry segment in pharmaceuticals, and, as it does so, one innovative research company is blazing a trail in this new market by creating a niche of its own. India Globalization Capital, Inc. (NYSE MKT: IGC) has created its own space in pharmaceuticals. The Bethesda, Maryland-based company is a first mover in “combination therapies” that merge cannabinoids with existing drugs to provide more effective remedies.
IGC is not only a first mover in combination therapies; the company is also a fast mover. To date, IGC has dispatched six provisional patent filings to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the indications of pain, medical refractory epilepsy, seizures, cachexia and eating disorders. Together, the remedies for these conditions present huge market opportunity, and IGC’s current low valuation versus comparable cannabis companies represents an important alert for all investors in this burgeoning industry.
IGC-501 is being developed to combat pain. The pain market represents a significant component of the health care system, with The Journal of Pain reporting in September 2012 that the annual estimated national cost of pain ranges from $560 billion to $635 billion, a figure that exceeds the cost of treating all other priority health conditions. Also, a NetworkNewsWire report on data released by Transparency Market Research estimates the global pain management therapeutics market will have a 3.7 percent CAGR through 2024, to reach $83.0 billion (http://dtn.fm/cMh1z).
Chronic pain takes such an exacting toll on the nation’s health that the American Pain Society has recommended pain be characterized as a fifth ‘vital sign’, along with body temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Pain treatment can save lives. Terminal illnesses are often accompanied by levels of pain so intense and difficult to treat that death seems preferable. In addition, arthritis has been particularly problematic for women, according to the Arthritis Foundation, which reports that since 1999 there has been a 22 percent increase in the number of women who attribute their disability to arthritis.
As awareness of the effects of chronic pain has grown, increasingly powerful drugs such as morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone are being prescribed. However, these opioids are treacherously addictive and their use is often subverted from pain relief, making their way into recreational use. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 29,000 Americans die every year from opioid-related overdoses. This alarming statistic shows the pressing need for less addictive analgesics like IGC-501.
IGC-503 tackles refractory epilepsy, which affects about 50 million in the U.S. alone. Refractory epilepsy refers to cases of epilepsy that are unresponsive to current medications. Also in the pipeline is IGC-504, intended for those who suffer from cachexia, known as wasting syndrome. About 1.3 million in the U.S. experience cachexia associated with cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS and other devastating maladies. In addition, there is IGC-506, designed to combat eating disorders, which are said to affect about 30 million Americans (http://dtn.fm/2j6Pq). Two other patents, IGC-502 and IGC-505, are designed to treat epileptic seizures in dogs and cats.
On the release of its financial results for the third-quarter ended December 31, 2016, CEO Ram Mukunda stated, “In 2017, our goal is to accelerate the development of our cannabis-based therapy portfolio to support key indications such as pain, seizures, cachexia, PTSD, and depression. In tandem, we expect to initiate pre-clinical trials on IGC-501-pain, IGC-502-seizures and IGC-504-cachexia.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.IGCinc.us
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