At a time when coronavirus fears are sending global markets into a downward spiral, Botanix Pharmaceutical's stock is climbing after news of its latest cannabinoid product showing incredible antimicrobial potential.
The Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 has spread to over 120,000 people globally and caused over 4,000 deaths. The United States President Donald Trump has just announced he will be temporarily placing a moratorium on travel from Europe to the States, with other countries like Italy on total lockdown.
Global markets are crashing, and the Global Cannabis Index is in freefall. Understandably, things are looking rough, and this will likely continue until there's some kind of global clarity and control around the COVID-19 epidemic.
Though amid it all is a glimmer of good news. ASX-listed Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX: BOT) has continued to see incredible results with its cannabinoid-derived antimicrobial formula BTX 180, with preclinical data showing that the formula eliminates certain types of bacteria within just 10 minutes. News of the findings has sent Botanix Pharma's stock bucking the downward trend and moving upward.
The formula is designed to specifically aid surgical site infections (SSIs), as caused by staph infections and the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to as MRSA.
Approximately 80% of SSIs are caused by the patient infecting themselves through their nasal passage, where Staph and MRSA can colonise. Additionally, Botanix's latest report states that patients colonised with Staph infections at ICU admission had an up to 15 times increased risk for developing pneumonia compared with non-colonized patients.
In order to combat this, antibiotics are typically used to facilitate nasal decolonisation, however antibacterial resistance to existing antibiotics such as Bactroban is becoming an increasing concern. Some hospitals are reporting that resistance rates to such antibiotics are reaching as high as 95%,
Not only that, but more broadly speaking, the World Health Organisation has stated that "Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today."
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, and given the statements made by the WHO, it's becoming abundantly clear that bacterias and their resistance to antibiotics are a growing threat facing humanity that desperately needs attention.
This is precisely why the news emerging from Botanix is a welcomed change and a crucial development in overcoming this global issue of antibacterial resistance.
Botanix's data demonstrates that synthetic CBD not only kills MRSA bacteria within just 10 minutes of exposure, but more importantly, does so without allowing resistance to develop.
The clinical studies conducted by Botanix have also demonstrated that BTX 1801 is more effective than mupirocin at decolonizing MRSA and mupirocin resistance strains of MRSA. Furthermore, the studies build upon previous work done by Botanix which shows that MRSA bacteria is unable to develop resistance to CBD, making the novel BTX 1801 formula ideal for treating both Staph and MRSA.
Moving forward, Botanix has designed a double-blind, vehicle-controlled Phase 2a study to continue evaluating the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of two formulations of BTX 1801, before progressing onto a clinical study involving patients undergoing surgery, for FDA registration.
The upcoming clinical study will be cost-effective, only involving 60 volunteers with a treatment period of five days. Final preparations for the study are now underway and Botanix expects participants to be enrolled by the 2nd quarter of 2020.
Botanix Executive Chairman and President Vince Ippolito commented: "Antibiotic resistance continues to be a significant global health issue, with no new classes of antibiotics receiving FDA approval in more than three decades, despite the availability of significant funding initiatives and regulatory incentives.
"We are excited to be launching our first clinical program from our antimicrobial platform. The development of BTX 1801 for the prevention of SSIs diversifies our clinical pipeline and opens up a separate business line for Botanix outside our mature dermatology programs."
To learn more about Botanix Pharma, visit the company HQ here.
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