Teva and Syqe to market medical cannabis inhaler

Teva is to market medical cannabis for pain management in Israel, administered with an inhaler from partner Syqe Medical.

Reuters reported that this is the first time the medical cannabis sector has complied with pharmaceutical standards for inhalation – the most efficient means for administering the drug.

Unlike other companies looking to develop cannabis-based pain treatments, Syqe’s product uses the raw cannabis plant inside its proprietary Syqe Inhaler.

The inhaler is a first-in-class pocket-sized selective-dose cannabis inhaler, and the company says the metered dose of 100mcg means patients will have their pain relieved without ‘getting high’ on the drug.

The companies say the cannabis plant is grown in a standardised production system, to a pharmaceutical grade to ensure a consistent potency and quality.

Pending approval by Israel’s Ministry of Health, Teva will exclusively market Syqe Medical’s inhaler in the country.

Syqe’s inhaler has been used for more than a year at Rambam Hospital, Haifa, making it the first hospital in the world to prescribe cannabis as a standard medical treatment.

Syqe says the global medicinal cannabis market is already worth around $1.4 billion, but expects this to grow to $10.2 billion by 2018. It expects to win a small fragment of this market, with the US representing the biggest opportunity.

Israel’s regulatory environment has led to it becoming a leader in cannabis technology, with dozens of specialist companies.

The device locks away the cannabis in uniquely identified, childproof, preloaded cartridges.

Other players in the field have taken a difference approach – GW Pharmaceuticals already has a cannabinoid-based drug, Sativex (nabiximols) approved for multiple sclerosis spasticity. This has isolated the active ingredient in cannabis, separating out its medical use from its reputation as an illicit street drug.

GW also has Epidiolex  (cannabidiol) in late-stage development for three childhood epilepsy indications – a drug which could generate sales in excess of a billion dollars if approved in all its uses.

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