Impression Healthcare Just Seriously Upped The Ante

Impression Healthcare's (ASX: IHL) Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sud Agarwal recently gave a speech on the company's annual general meeting. Here's everything you need to know.

Impression Healthcare (ASX: IHL) recently held its annual general meeting (AGM), in which the company's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sud Agarwal gave a presentation on the current trajectory of Impression Healthcare as well as an update on the 3 novel cannabinoid formulas which the company is developing.

IHL is developing three novel cannabinoid formulas through its drug discovery brand Incannex and is being supplied with CBD through an EU-based drug design company called Linnea SA.

Dr. Agarwal's speech went in-depth into each of the novel cannabinoid formulas, designed to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TBD,) and Traumatic Brain Injury, for which the company has recently filed a patent.

IHL's plan is simple: tackle three currently untreated areas, which each have a total addressable market of $1+ billion dollars, and have each of their formulas be scientifically validated. Alongside these areas, the company is also looking into using CBD to tackle Gingivitis.

To get there, the company has short, medium and long term plans for financing:

1. Development of targeted and scientifically validated products to market (long term value creation)

2. Potential early out-licensing of specialist products (medium-term value creation)

3. Commercial commencement of certain cannabinoid therapies under Special Access Scheme (SAS) (immediate revenue)

Now let's get down to brass tacks and look at the drugs.

Traumatic Brain Injury (IHL-216A)

Traumatic brain injury accounts for approximately 10 million deaths and/or hospitalization annually in the world, and is commonplace among athletes and those in vehicular accidents.

Upon injury, the brain has a series of immediate and secondary responses.

Initially, damage to the brain produces an immediate disruption of brain tissue, which may involve contusion, blood vessel disruption, brain oedema, localized necrotic cell death, and other issues.

From there, your brain may then begin to send inflammatory responses throughout your body, which can cause intracranial pressure and reductions in cerebral blood flow.

The current response to treating TBI and reducing this intracranial pressure is to perform a decompressive craniotomy, which involves the removal of skull segments to provide the brain space.

IHL's novel cannabinoid formula, IHL-216A is a cannabinoid-based formula, currently in the pre-clinical testing phase at Swinburne University, is designed to mitigate some of the harmful effects associated with TBI.

Like all of IHL's novel cannabinoid formulas, there is no current pharmaceutical alternative to treating Traumatic Brain Injury.

The brain's natural response to TBI is actually to increase its endogenous production of cannabinoids within the brain by roughly ten-fold, which provides a neuroprotective effect.

IHL's product would provide support to traumatic brain injury victims through additional external cannabinoids, which are said to reduce neuroinflammation and minimize brain vascular disruption and damage.

IHL-216A would mimic the brain's endocannabinoids and is formulated to rapidly cross through the blood-brain barrier for fast delivery.

The cannabinoid product is designed to be the first port of call for medical professionals in the event of sporting injury or a car accident, which should reduce the initial symptoms of injury and prevent further impacts down the line.

IHL has recently filed the patent for this drug.

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (IHL-42X)

Sleep Apnoea is defined as when a person's throat closes during sleep and is currently the largest cause of chronic pathology for which there is no existing medication.

According to Dr. Agarwal, between 9-28% of women, and between 24-26% of men have apneic events at a treatable level on a regular basis.

Deloitte Access Economics (2011) also estimated the direct economic costs due to OSA was $21.2 Billion, due to a laundry list of health issues including stroke, diabetes, and coronary artery disease, as well as missed workdays due to such symptoms.

The current recourse to Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is known as a Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP) which is a mask worn at night that is designed to help keep airways open.

However if you've ever seen a CPAP machine, you'll know how obstructive they can be in and of themselves.

As a result, almost half of all patients who have prescribed a CPAP machine for their OSA will abandon using it within twelve months.

Meanwhile, studies have shown that cannabinoids, particularly one known as dronabinol which is a synthetic form of THC, can help reduce symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea by up to 30%.

As doctors, we consider 10 to 15% to be clinically significant. 30% is eye-popping. Dr. Sud Agarwal, Chief Medical Officer of Impression Healthcare.

According to Dr. Agarwal, IHL's drug has the right combinations of cannabinoids so that it reduces the symptoms of OSA while not leaving the user too intoxicated to drive the next day.

Though due to a pending patent application, Dr. Agarwal was unable to go in-depth into the formulation behind IHL-42X.


Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (IHL-493C)

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) occurs when there are problems with the muscles in the jaw and face, often leading to headaches, locked jaw, pressure behind the eyes, and pain around the facial area.

TMD affects 20% of the global population and often goes undiagnosed, often in adults aged 20-40, with TMD being four times more prevalent in women than men.

Dr. Agarwal mentions that according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), $4 billion is spent every year on the diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction in the USA alone.

IHL's impetus to use cannabinoids to treat TMD stems from the increasing evidence that cannabinoids may aid with muscle and tendon stiffness, and in diseases such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

The company also states that there is "substantial evidence suggesting that cannabinoids have local analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects if given in high enough concentrations."

IHL-493C is patent-pending and is designed to be administered transdermally to treat TMD.

IHL states that each of these three targeted therapeutic areas has already displayed the utility of cannabinoids through in-vitro, in-animal or in-human studies.

Periodontitis (IHL-668A)

Periodontitis is a gum infection which causes inflammation in the gum and teeth, and can potentially lead to teeth falling out.

Periodontitis affects approximately 20% of the Australian population with almost 40% of Australians aged 55 years or over suffering from moderate-to-severe periodontitis.

Because of cannabidiol's anti-inflammatory benefits, IHL believes that CBD may reduce bone resorption and potentially reduce the rate of bone loss coincident with periodontitis.

As a result, the company will carry out a trial to examine the benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) Mouthwash and Toothpaste to reduce the grading of Periodontitis compared to a placebo.

You can read the presentation here, and access Impression Healthcare's company Headquarters here.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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