Medical cannabis company Impression Healthcare (ASX: IHL) is continuing on its path to developing an effective solution for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) having filed a patent application covering IHL-42X in pill form.
Impression intends to radically change the status quo in how sleep apnoea is treated with its cannabinol-based IHL-42X pill with certain pharmaceutical ingredients of IHL-42X showing highly encouraging results in early trials.
Pill form treatment is a radical shift away from the CPAP device that is strapped to the patient’s face throughout the entire duration of their sleep.
The patent filing follows extensive work undertaken by Impression’s chief medical officer Dr Sud Agarwal and specialist sleep physician Dr David Cunnington, a recently appointed member to Impression’s medical advisory board.
Treatment of OSA with a pill taken nocturnally is considered highly desirable to patients and public health officials given the advantages facilitated by such an ingestion method.
Obstructive sleep apnoea has become the second most-diagnosed respiratory condition after asthma, making it the largest disease burden in the western world for which there are no effective pharmacological (another word for “drug”) treatments.
As things stand, around 1 million Australians suffer from symptomatic OSA while over 100 million people are affected globally – with numbers rising rapidly due to negative lifestyle choices including unhealthy diets and smoking.
Moreover, and a key aspect for Impression which intends to disrupt the sleep device market, OSA is currently under-treated due to high patient non-compliance with the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, which is the existing first-line treatment option for patients.
The device is reportedly cumbersome to use and means patients must wear a face or nasal mask while sleeping. The mask is typically connected to a pump and provides a positive flow of air into the nasal passages in order to keep the airway open. The approach is artificial and does not resolve the underlying cause which essentially means patients are mitigating the symptoms rather than receiving a cure.
In a research journal published in 2018, OSA was associated with obesity in more than 60% of cases and was linked to comorbidities including hypertension, arrhythmia, stroke, coronary heart disease and metabolic dysfunction.
Impression’s approach to combating sleep apnoea
The company is developing its own unique formulation in conjunction with Swinburne University to potentially enhance how OSA is treated while improving the quality of life for sufferers.
Other companies are also vying to develop OSA treatment products, in the form of devices, including Resmed, Somnomed and Oventus in a bid to court the circa US$10 billion-dollar global market for OSA detection and treatment.
Speaking exclusively to Small Caps, an Impression spokesman said that the company has undertaken the necessary work over the past month to ensure that the clinical programs move forward effectively.
“The company is well-positioned and now expects an acceleration of the clinical development program that was outlined by our chief medical officer Dr Sud Agarwal at our recent annual general meeting,” according to Impression’s spokesman.
Dr Agarwal presented at Impression’s AGM in October this year, where he discussed the company’s drug development pipeline and Impression’s b broader drug discovery process for cannabinoid products for sleep apnoea.
With the patent application now filed, Impression intends to commence further work to supports its in-human observations, dosage studies, formulation refinement and other clinical activities – safe in the knowledge that its work will be entirely safeguarded by initial patent protections.
“Having the patent in place affords the Impression team the relevant protection it needs in the near term to push ahead with further development of IHL-42X,” said Dr Sud Agarwal.