Special Report: Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL) hydroxychloroquine/cannabidiol (CBD) cocktail is turning into a veritable wonder drug – at least in rodents.

The Melbourne-based pharmaceutical development company announced on Tuesday that it would pursue using IHL-675A to treat rheumatoid arthritis, following promising tests on laboratory rats induced to have arthritis.

It’s the sixth inflammatory condition the drug combination has shown efficacy in treating: Incannex has previously announced positive results for IHL-675A in animal studies involving asthma, constructive obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), inflammatory bowel disease, bronchitis and sepsis-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome, a leading cause of death from COVID-19.

All the lab tests indicate that CBD and hydroxychloroquine work together synergistically to reduce inflammation.

Hydroxychloroquine is already approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis and is sold under the brand name Plaquenil, but long-term use can cause heart damage and inflame the optic nerve.

The medication became hard to find after then-US President Donald Trump infamously spruiked it as a treatment for COVID-19 last year.

This latest animal study suggests by combining hydroxychloroquine with CBD, there could be a tenfold reduction in hydroxychloroquine without sacrificing efficacy in arthritis treatment.

“The observation … indicates that IHL-675A has the potential to be a breakthrough in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in humans,” says Incannex chief executive and managing director Joel Latham.

“Therefore, the company is rigorously working with its scientific team and advisors to arrange the next steps to advance IHL-675A for use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.”

A global disease

An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis affected an estimated 24.5 million people in 2015.

The chronic inflammatory disorder occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a body’s own tissue, including the lining of the joints, causing painful swelling and stiffness.

Incannex said it had broadened claims within its patent filing to cover rheumatoid arthritis as an indication.

The company has also hired consultants and requested a meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration so it can develop a path forward with clinical studies.

This article was developed in collaboration with Incannex Healthcare, 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.