Pharmaceutical company Avecho Biotechnology (ASX: AVE) has unveiled a supply agreement with Tasmanian Alkaloids in a bid to boost its natural medicinal cannabis products.
The deal terms state that Avecho will combine natural cannabis products supplied by Tasmanian Alkaloids with its own tocopheryl phosphate mixture (TPM) technology to investigate how the technology could increase the oral absorption of natural cannabinoids from medicinal cannabis products.
Overall, TPM is being developed to create injectable, oral and topical products for the human health market but will also be used to enhance the feed efficiency and health of livestock.
The move was announced alongside significant changes to the company’s management team with Dr Paul Gavin and Dr Roksan Libinaki appointed as chief executive officer and chief operations officer, respectively.
The duo plan to guide the company towards a new era of drug development that improves upon existing methods by combining natural and artificial cannabis extracts.
Standing out in a ‘busy’ market
According to Avecho, the new appointments represent “the next phase” of the company’s development with the supply agreement demonstrating a strategy of combining both natural and synthetic cannabis extracts to create patentable products.
“As the use of natural cannabis extracts expand, the lack of differentiation between products is already becoming apparent,” Avecho executive chairman Dr Greg Collier said.
“Avecho’s TPM may offer a unique solution, with the potential for patent protection, for companies striving to better differentiate their own medicinal cannabis product in this already busy marketplace,” he said.
According to Tasmanian Alkaloids, it is one of the world’s leading fully integrated manufacturers and exporters of controlled substance extracts, which includes the extraction and production of natural medicinal cannabis.
The newly signed deal means Tasmanian Alkaloids has committed to supply specific natural medicinal cannabis products to Avecho for research and development purposes, while in return, Avecho will purchase the future commercial supply of natural medicinal cannabis from Tasmanian Alkaloids, upon finalised products being commercialised.
Moreover, the deal with Tasmanian Alkaloids builds upon a previous agreement signed with US company Purisys for the supply of synthetic cannabinoids, and the initiation of an internal development program focused on TPM enhanced cannabinoid products.
Adding natural medicinal cannabis to Avecho’s ongoing research program is expected to allow the company to harness its TPM technology to deliver a hybridised set of products that will ultimately be commercialised within the pharmaceutical, medicinal and consumer spaces.
TPM is a proprietary technology first developed by Avecho, which claims it is the world’s first drug delivery platform combining a proprietary combination of two different forms of tocopheryl phosphate, an enhanced form of vitamin E.
According to Avecho, reformulating products with TPM has been proven to increase drug solubility, increase drug stability, increase oral bioavailability and increase the efficiency of topical delivery.
To achieve such improvements, the technology takes a different approach to traditional vitamin E solutions by self-assembling into small particles, less than a tenth the thickness of a human hair. The ultra-thin composition is then able to entrap drugs or other molecules inside, which increases their solubility and subsequent absorption.
“We see this type of agreement as providing a win-win for both companies and patients,” Tasmanian Alkaloids chief operating officer Mr Doug Blackaby said.
“We have invested heavily in building high capacity to extract and supply quality GMP full plant extract and isolates and are keen to support companies that have technologies to turn these into market-leading differentiated products,” he said.
“By providing the initial raw ingredient in this way, we facilitate our partners’ ability to produce an improved commercial product, improve the quality and options for patients and gain the benefit of a long-term supply agreement,” Mr Blackaby added.
The news pushed Avecho shares higher by over 33% up to $0.008 per share in morning trade.