Incannex will move into the lucrative treatment of drug addictions following its takeover of APIRX.

Clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL) will work to tackle addiction disorders following the acquisition of leading cannabinoid biotech company APIRx Pharmaceuticals (APIRx).

IHL said APRIx has multiple patents for cannabinoid-based drug candidates designed for treatment of addiction to different drug classes.

Opioid addiction

APIRx’s CanQuit O to treat patients withopioid addiction is a patented chewing gum that combines cannabinoids including CBD with opioid agonists and/or antagonists.

It’s designed in the form of a medicated chewing gum to potentially suppress an addict’s craving for the highly addictive drug in a sustained release format.

The act of mastication (chewing) also has an analgesic and anti-anxiety effect, which is thought to also assist to suppress opioid cravings.

The prescription product is aimed at combating opioid addiction for which the annual market size in the US alone is expected to reach US$64 billion by 2028.

The costs to society include healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement and governments are crying out for solutions for people who have become lost in the system

Cannabis addiction

APIRx’s CheWell for Cannabis Dependence is a patented CBD chewable tablet with high bioavailability that can be used in the treatment of marijuana addiction.

The company said marijuana dependence is predicted to be the fastest growing segment of the drug dependence market.

Preliminary data suggest a possible beneficial impact of CBD on mitigating the craving effect of cannabis, while a case report has shown positive outcomes for one patient treated with CBD during the withdrawal and relapse phase of cannabis dependence.

Pre-IND with FDA is pending.

Help to quit smoking

IHL said more effective and cost-effective cannabinoid plus nicotine gum may disrupt the incumbent global nicotine gum market, which had sales of US$5.2 billion in 2020.

By combining cannabinoids with reducing doses of nicotine, APIRx’s patented CanQuit – Nicotine Addiction is a chewing gum designed to better assist addicted smokers quit smoking.

APIRx’s over the counter (OTC) product will be trialled for effectiveness against nicotine medicated chewing gums.

Opportunity for growth

IHL’s takeover of APIRx which was announced last week strengthens its global leadership in the cannabinoid and psychedelic sectors.

It marks possibly the most significant corporate transaction in the medicinal cannabis sector since the takeover of GW Pharmaceuticals (developer of CBD-based Epidiolex) by Jazz Pharmaceuticals for US$7.2B that was first announced in May 2021.

An additional 22 clinical and  pre-clinical  research  and  development  projects have  been transferred  to  IHL, which it says represents  aggregate  addressable  markets  of  ~US$400 billion annually.

This article was developed in collaboration with Incannex, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.