Medical marijuana company licenses RapidMist device for buccal delivery

Generex Biotechnology's RapidMist device--Courtesy of Generex

Medical marijuana company CannScience Innovations entered into a nonbinding agreement to license Generex Biotechnology's RapidMist device for the buccal delivery of its developmental stage medical marijuana products.

The RapidMist device delivers drugs into the mouth as a metered-dose spray for speedy absorption through the inner lining of the cheeks known as the buccal membrane. Generex says the most advanced candidate that uses RapidMist is Phase III Generex Oral-lyn for the treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The medicine is outlicensed to India's Shreya Life Sciences.

RapidMist is also being used in the company's candidates for pain management and deep vein thrombosis. The device looks like an inhaler but aims to deliver drugs through the inside of the mouth, not the lungs.

According to the Generex website, the key to drug delivery through the buccal membrane is not the device but the use of enhancers called surfactants. Surfactants are organic chemicals that have both hydrophobic (water-hating) and hydrophilic (water-loving) ends, and sometimes form a structure known as a micelle, in which the hydrophilic ends arrange themselves in a protective shell that can be used to transport large molecules through cell membranes and cell walls.

Generex also outlicensed RapidMist to Sunnyvale, CA-based Amarantus BioSciences for potential treatments for diabetes and Parkinson's disease for $10 million in 2011.

CannScience aims to commercialize medical marijuana (also known as cannabis) products in Canada and internationally, according to the release. It does not have any commercial products so far. In Canada, medical marijuana is regulated under what are known as the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. Health Canada projects a market size of $1.3 billion by 2024 and a compounded annual growth rate among patients of 36% over the next 5 years.

The companies say buccal delivery of medical marijuana is better than oral administration because it enables faster relief, better control over dosing and more predictable absorption.

Other companies are aiming to develop novel techniques for medical marijuana as well. Israeli startup Syqe Medical is developing a hand-held device that yields more controlled cannabis dosage and provides an alternative to traditional delivery methods. The company's Syqe Inhaler vaporizes tiny granules of cannabis in doses as small as 1 mg, allowing physicians to fine-tune dosage and tailor treatment to each patient.

Also, Cannabis Therapy partnered with Seattle-based Canna-Pet to enter the multibillion-dollar pet market with chewable hemp-based products to tackle diabetes, arthritis and other ailments in dogs.

- read the release
- here's the RapidMist website

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