Is the drug industry changing its approach to medical cannabis? This morning, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) subsidiary Teva Israel reported signing a cooperation and marketing agreement with the Israeli company Syqe Medical to market the world's first cannabis inhaler. No financial data on the agreement were disclosed.
According to the agreement, Teva Israel will be the exclusive Israel distributor of Syqe's medical cannabis inhaler, while Syqe will be responsible to produce the inhaler and its cartridges. In addition, the two companies will found a support and instruction array for patients and medical staff, to be composed of a dedicated team of nurses.
Figures indicate that in 2016, Israel had about 26,000 medical cannabis consumption licenses, and estimates are that licenses will double by 2018. In addition, market estimates are that a person with a medical cannabis license spends an average of $1,000 per year on cannabis, which makes this a potential high profit market for Teva Israel and Syqe.
So far, health ministries in Israel and abroad have had no medical solution to offer most patients, who consume cannabis by inhalation (90% of patients worldwide); Syqe's inhaler provides these patients with an efficient solution which allows them to inhale an optimal dosage to best ease their pain.
Syqe's inhaler will be designated for a wide variety of patients with different diseases, based on indications approved by Israel's Ministry of Health. This inhaler has already been used regularly in the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for a year. In fact, Rambam is the world's first hospital in which cannabis is used as a regular medical treatment.
The cartridges are biodegradable and will be marketed and distributed by Teva to relevant parties - doctors, nurses, pain clinics, oncological clinics, pharmacies and more. The marketing and distribution of the inhaler will be subject to Teva's highest pharmaceutical standards.
Syqe Medical is an Israeli company developing technologies for pharmaceutical administration of raw medicinal plants by inhalation; it has developed the world's first and only inhaler enabling metered-dose administration of plants, which has the level of precision and safety of a drug. The first plant integrated in this inhalator is medical cannabis. The company has completed several clinical trials which had indicated that the inhaler is accurate and up to the pharmaceutical standards for inhalation-based cannabis delivery. Syqe Medical's technology makes only a structural change in the plant, preserves all of its qualities and provides safe, accurate and metered inhalation-based delivery.
"Teva Israel entered the field of medical cannabis, out of its deep commitment to pain patients, a field which is at the core of the company's operations," said Avinoam Sapir, Teva Israel CEO, director for Africa and the Middle East and director of innovation in emerging markets. "Advanced technology and groundbreaking medical devices - such as the ones developed by Syqe Medical, which generate therapeutical value for both patient and medical staff - fit well into the strategy of Teva Israel which is committed to innovation in all fields of activity, whether as part of in-house development, in investments, or in cooperation with groundbreaking Israeli startup companies."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 28, 2016
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