Impression Healthcare (ASX: IHL) has opted to file a patent application for a neuroprotective agent that could potentially aid people that suffer concussions – a growing issue in contact sports such as boxing, American and Australian-rules football.
Earlier today, the company declared that it had filed a patent application covering its IHL-216A medicinal cannabinoid drug to be used as a neuroprotective agent following concussion to reduce Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The company has confirmed that it plans to file further patents related to IHL-216A following further clinical testing, which is “due to commence shortly”.
TBI accounts for approximately 10 million deaths and/or hospitalisations annually in the world. Meanwhile, there has been a complete dearth of significant pharmaceutical interventions in the TBI field.
As things stand, the most common treatment for TBI is through surgical intervention by decompressive craniotomy which involves the removal of skull segments to reduce intracranial pressure. Such procedures are considered risky, invasive, and can often lead to additional conditions such as permanent brain damage.
According to Impression, its drug discovery team has learnt that early intervention with synthetic cannabidiol in conjunction with a “halogenated volatile anaesthetic agent” can shield the brain from secondary immune-mediated damage.
“This hypothesis is supported by existing in-vitro, in-vivo and some in-human studies, as outlined in the patent filing submission,” the company said.
“There is a clear need for a post-injury treatment as the personal and societal costs of TBI are enormous,” said Dr Sud Agarwal, chief medical officer and non-executive director of Impression.
“IHL-216A is intended to be a first line of defence against TBI to be administered by health professionals including paramedics, ER doctors and ring-side health professionals,” he said.
Alleviating head trauma
Head trauma that results in unconsciousness is often an indicator of moderate to significant brain injury.
In these cases, there are likely to be contusions, swelling and commencement of intracranial inflammatory processes.
To alleviate this effect, Impression postulates that by providing an optimal fixed dose of APIs within IHL-216A, the treatment can reduce neuro-excitation, neuro-inflammation, cerebral blood flow and cerebral oxygen consumption – conditions that can contribute to additional damage to the brain after a concussion has occurred.
If successfully proven, Impression hopes to be able to make a firm claim that it can provide “neuroprotection”, defined as reduced neuronal cell death and damage.
The basis for the patent application is that both cannabidiol and halogenated volatile anaesthetic agents are known to cause a reduction in neuro-excitation, which is thought to be a key step in the pathway resulting in the reduction of neurocellular damage and TBI, the company said.
Co-administration of cannabidiol with a halogenated volatile anaesthetic agent is thought to create “synergism” whereby the concentrations of both agents can be reduced to safe, non-toxic levels whilst also achieving efficacy.
“As a neurosurgeon of 16 years standing, I am hopeful that IHL – 216A will be a game-changer in the pharmacological treatment of traumatic brain injury which is a ubiquitous world problem,” said Dr Ron Jithoo, specialist neurosurgeon and Impression’s medical advisory board member.
In parallel news, during a speech at the company’s annual general meeting, Impression chief executive officer and managing director Joel Latham confirmed that he expects the company’s first batch of medicinal cannabis oils to be delivered in mid-October.
He said sales of CBD oils have been “growing rapidly” with pressure on some existing suppliers to meet demand – a development that is likely to “accentuate opportunity” for Impression.
News of a fresh patent application meant Impression’s shares rose by almost 4% up to $0.086 in early morning trade.