Medlab Clinical, the maker of cannabis mouth sprays undergoing testing for effects on cancer, has discovered that its technology can increase the potency of atorvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug used to prevent cardiovascular disease.

The company (ASX:MDC) is known for its drug delivery platform NanoCelle, which delivers medicine as tiny particles in a spray to the buccal membrane, or the inside lining of the cheek. Its aim is to make it easier to deliver medicine as well as increase the speed and rate of absorption into the bloodstream.

It has two cannabis drugs in clinical trials — NanaBis, a complementary or replacement treatment for opioids in advanced cancer pain, and NanaBidial, for cancer-induced nausea and seizures.

Medlab recently completed a Phase 1 clinical trial for NanoStat, which is atorvastatin delivered via NanoCelle. It told investors this morning about the results from that trial, as well as follow-up work in its laboratory aimed at improving the drug.

The new and improved NanoStat, four sprays at 1mg, showed the blood levels of free atorvastatin were twice as high compared with the orally ingested 20mg atorvastatin tablet, with peak blood concentrations of free atorvastatin achieved in about half an hour, compared with 53 minutes for the tablet.

Atorvastatin is often sold as Lipitor, and is known to cause significant side effects in some patients.

Medlab says the trial results and lab work have blown them away, opening up new options for the company and NanoStat.

“Medlab’s intention was to investigate the potential for a lower dose statin delivered as an orobuccal spray, being similar to the effects of a stronger dose tablet. The data was extremely interesting, not only did it show a level of bioequivalence, it highlighted several areas of improvement which had previously not been obvious,” it said.

“Moving forward Medlab intends to perfect this technique, develop the product further and look for potential new patents for Atorvastatin in light of the programme findings to date.”

Shares were up ever so slightly to 40.5c.

Medlab Clinical (ASX:MDC) shares over the past year.