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Marijuana-based Pharmaceutical Company 'Cannasat' Publicly Launched

Discussion in 'Medical Marijuana' started by Motorhead, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. Motorhead

    Motorhead Platinum Member & Advisor

    Reputation Points:
    Feb 22, 2005
    44 y/o from Canada
    Marijuana-based Pharmaceutical Company 'Cannasat' Publicly Launced
    by Leonard Zehr (06 Apr, 2006) Znaimer eyes riches from pot in the medicine chest; CITY-TV innovator's venture eyes potential of cannabis's medicinal value
    [​IMG][SIZE=-2]Medicinal Marijuana in Pill form?TORONTO — Moses Znaimer, the media guru who revolutionized the face of television with urban, interactive programming, is now gearing up to bring marijuana-based drugs to Canada's medicine cabinets.

    "In our opinion, the situation today is similar to the emergence of poppy-derived medicines 100 years ago that has given us codeine and other drugs," he said at a briefing yesterday to publicly launch Cannasat Therapeutics Inc.

    "Cannasat stands at the convergence of science, health care, government policy and evolving social norms with respect to the therapeutic potential of marijuana and cannabis-based medicines."

    Mr. Znaimer, 63, stepped down as president and executive producer of 17 CHUM TV stations in 2003, after a 32-year career, to try his hand at something different.

    Mr. Znaimer and retailer Joseph Mimran, of Alfred Sung and Club Monaco fame, became investors in Cannasat in 2004 after the drug developer was founded by merchant bank Hill & Gertner Capital Corp.

    Cannasat went public on the TSX Venture Exchange this year through a type of reverse takeover of with Lonsdale Public Ventures Inc., a capital pool company. The stock closed yesterday at 40 cents, up 15 cents.

    In the past two years, Cannasat has raised $6.5-million in financing and acquired a minority stake in Saskatoon-based Prairie Plant Systems Inc., the only government-licensed grower and distributor of medicinal cannabis in Canada. Its crop is grown in a Flin Flon, Man., mineshaft.

    Stressing that medicinal marijuana is not about getting high or getting a buzz, Mr. Znaimer said "it's about function," referring to generally accepted anecdotal evidence that the drug can provide rapid pain relief.

    Indeed, Cannasat's director of public relations, Sara Irwin, who was diagnosed with cancer of the hip and pelvis 17 years ago, is now a licensed medical marijuana user and said the drug has "improved the quality of my life greatly."

    Moreover, Mr. Znaimer, who is chairman of Cannasat and owns a 5-per-cent stake, said a pain pill developed from cannabis would go a long way to eliminating the adverse side effects of traditional drugs, such as Celebrex, and the "social stigma of smoking marijuana."

    But don't expect to see it behind the local pharmacy counter any time soon.

    The company is still formulating a delivery technology at its lab at the University of Alberta that is needed to transport cannabis in the bloodstream.

    It hopes to begin early stage testing in humans by the end of 2007, the start of a typical five-year process to obtain regulatory approval, said chief executive officer David Hill.

    Chief medical officer Umar Syed said the company initially is targeting pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy and AIDS-associated wasting disease, and neuropathy pain associated with diabetes, AIDS and shingles.

    In the meantime, Mr. Znaimer said Cannasat is launching a media and information campaign about safe and legal methods of acquiring cannabis as a medicine in Canada, one of only three countries in the world where that's possible.

    "Many Canadians are not aware of the program and many who use it as a medicine have to get it . . . on the street and expose themselves to a process that is criminal, paying too much and never getting the same quality twice," he said,

    With a doctor's approval, patients can apply to Health Canada to become registered card-carrying users under the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. First shipments began in 2003 and are couriered monthly to users. Medicinal marijuana sells for about $5 a gram, about a third of its street cost.

    Article from The Globe and Mail
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2017
  2. Motorhead

    Motorhead Platinum Member & Advisor

    Reputation Points:
    Feb 22, 2005
    44 y/o from Canada
    Canada: Medical Marijuana Hits Stock Market
    by Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew, Business Reporter, (06 Apr 2006) Toronto Star Canada
    It's not every company that heralds its public debut with Moses Znaimer, the co-founder of CityTV, on one side and a bag of marijuana from the Canadian government on the other.

    But that's exactly how Cannasat Therapeutics Inc. did it yesterday.

    Cannasat bills itself as one of a handful of companies in the world that is researching and developing medicines derived from cannabis plants.

    Executives acknowledged at a media conference that the fledgling firm faces an uphill battle on many fronts -- from the enormous cost and risk involved in developing new drugs to fighting a social stigma that conjures up images of police officers on pot busts pulling up rows of tall green plants and stoned teenagers getting "the munchies."

    "Does it give you a buzz?" a reporter asked at one point.

    "This is not about fun. It's about function," said a stern Znaimer, who serves as chairman of Cannasat's board of directors. "This is not marijuana that people come to because they're looking for a good time."

    Shares of Cannasat, whose symbol is "CTH", closed at 40 cents on the TSX Toronto Venture Exchange yesterday, up 15 cents from the day before. The stock has been trading on the junior exchange for about a week.

    Today marks the kickoff of a promotional campaign by Cannasat that's meant to raise awareness about Health Canada's Marihuana Medical Access Regulations or MMAR. The three-year-old program allows people who suffer from cancer, HIV or AIDS, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries, among other conditions, to purchase cannabis from the government.

    Users say the drug -- possession of which is technically illegal -- works wonders in alleviating pain, insomnia, loss of appetite, often more effectively than doctor-prescribed pharmaceuticals, and with fewer side effects.

    About 1,100 people have registered for the government program to date, but that's believed to be a tiny fraction of medical marijuana users.

    Cannasat holds a stake in Prairie Plant Systems, the country's only legal medical marijuana grower and distributor, which operates under Health Canada's regulations.

    The company has raised about $6.5 million through private financing in the last two years. About half of that has since been spent on research and development at its laboratory in Edmonton. The focus of its work is coming up with effective drug-delivery systems. Aside from being smoked, marijuana can be absorbed through the skin, swallowed or inhaled in a nasal spray.

    Company officials were tight-lipped about the content of their patents and where they have been filed.

    "It's becoming a very competitive arena," chief executive David Hill said. Its rivals include U.K.-based GW Pharmaceuticals, makers of Sativex, an oral spray approved in Canada for treatment of MS-related pain.

    Cannasat is still about 18 months away from clinical trials on people, and five years or so away from bringing products to the market, said Umar Syed, vice-president scientific and strategic affairs. "Realistically we would probably need another $10 million to $15 million in the next two to three years to get us there."

    It hopes to eventually find a partner in a big pharmaceutical company that could handle marketing and distribution.

    "We're still just used to thinking of marijuana as an illicit drug. It's been really robbed of its medical benefits," said Sara Lee Irwin, Cannasat's director of public relations.

    She's also a licensed MMAR user. Irwin was just 32 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer in her pelvis and hip. For many of the 17 years since, she used powerful painkillers Percodan and Tylene 3, as well as Vioxx, the arthritis drug recently pulled off the market after reports that it can increase the risk of heart attack.

    The drugs upset her stomach and she worried about long-term effects. She turned to marijuana about two-and-a-half years ago.

    Irwin now gets a monthly supply delivered to her home in a gold bag for $5 a gram, a cost that she can claim as a medical expense on her income tax return.

    "Pain sort of sits right here and it erodes everything in your life," Lee said in an interview, holding her hands directly in front of her face.

    "( The marijuana ) just moves it off-centre. It's not a big gnawing, raw sore in the middle of your face. It's good to have just an awareness of it there, and it doesn't overwhelm you."

    Znaimer, considered a television pioneer, takes credit for planting the seeds for the company.

    For years, he watched friends who struggled with inflammatory bowel disease find relief using marijuana that they didn't get from their prescribed medications.

    He had also heard about new research that suggested cannabis plants may one day form a whole new class of pharmaceutical drugs.

    "I mentioned it to some other guys I know who are in the venture capital business. They're always saying, 'Hey Mose, what's the next new thing?'" Znaimer said in an interview. "One thing leads to another."

    Canada is one of the few countries in the world where researchers can access legally grown marijuana for research purposes, Znaimer pointed out.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2017