Lexaria Bioscience Expands Pharma Division for development of Lipophilic Antivirals against COVID-19


Lexaria Bioscience has expanded the scope and activities of its 100%-owned subsidiary, Lexaria Pharmaceutical, to investigate how Lexaria’s patented DehydraTECHTM drug delivery technology could enhance delivery and effectiveness of certain antiviral drugs in the fight against coronavirus disease COVID-19.  Lexaria intends to expand collaboration with leading laboratories in North America and internationally as soon as possible.

Lexaria Pharmaceutical Business Unit

Within the Lexaria Pharmaceutical  business unit resides Intellectual Property for enhanced delivery of drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), vitamins, hormone treatments utilising oestrogen or testosterone and phosphodiesterase (“PDE5”) inhibitors; with expansion now underway to include antiviral drugs as well. Lexaria’s patented DehydraTECH drug delivery technology enhances the way APIs enter the bloodstream, promoting lower overall dosing and higher effectiveness for lipophilic active molecules, including the lipophilic antiviral drugs under investigation.  Lexaria operates a licensed in-house research laboratory and holds a robust intellectual property portfolio with 16 patents granted and over 60 patents pending worldwide.

Lipophilic Antiviral Drug Delivery – Rationale

Researchers around the world are currently investigating various antiviral drugs as potential candidates to treat persons infected with coronavirus.  Many of these drugs are fat soluble and known to present significant bioavailability challenges in successfully reaching the human bloodstream when administered in oral form. Lexaria has established itself as a scientific leader in oral delivery of fat soluble drugs.

DehydraTECH has been proven to reduce time of onset and increase bioavailability in every fat soluble drug with which it has been tested to date. When quantified, the increase in bioavailability can significantly reduce the drug dose required to treat a condition, thereby reducing treatment costs. In the case of COVID-19 where many millions of drug doses may be required worldwide, this has the potential to save billions of dollars and improve accessibility to positively effect healthcare on a global scale.  Furthermore, DehydraTECH’s bioavailability enhancing effects are believed to be enabled in part by influencing a decrease in first pass liver metabolism for orally administered drugs.  This, in turn, is thought to enable improved safety and tolerability for patients by maximising the quantity of the ingested drug that traverses the GI tract and reaches the bloodstream without being degraded by or placing stress upon organs that process waste elimination.

Lexaria Pharmaceutical intends to investigate its leading-edge drug delivery technology throughout 2020 and 2021 to improve drug delivery efficiency for potential application for a number of virus-related diseases such as AIDS, Influenza and COVID-19.

Data-Driven R&D Program

Lexaria has completed the design phase and intends to conduct a pilot human PK exploratory study in healthy volunteers with three or more antiviral drugs that have previously been studied against other coronavirus strains, comparing DehydraTECH formulations to controls.  Lexaria intends to conduct this first study at a leading Canadian university where a study design and plan has already been submitted for ethics board approval.  Lexaria will provide further details upon successful conclusion of the review process, as well as study outcomes when available.

If the PK data are successful in demonstrating antiviral drug delivery efficiencies, Lexaria will provide that data to researchers around the world to enable additional practical research in utilisation of similar antiviral drugs in combating COVID-19. Additional publicly reported data may include expanded PK and pharmacodynamic screening in appropriate disease models in animals to predict human effectiveness.

Pending positive outcomes from its planned research activities, Lexaria will aggressively engage with prospective strategic partners to improve drug development where applicable, in alignment with its business model as a drug delivery technology licensor and provider.

Link to the Press Release.