2020 has been a challenging year for the global economy and almost all industries have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 as the virus has forced numerous businesses to shut down. There are a number of companies that are working around the clock to develop a treatment for this highly contagious and often lethal virus.
Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: CRDL) (OTCQX: CRTPF) is a leader in the production of pharmaceutical cannabidiol (CBD) and the development of innovative cannabidiol products for heart diseases such as Chronic Heart Failure and Acute Myocarditis. During the last year, the company has been executing on several high-level growth initiatives and is now working to develop a therapy that could positively impact COVID-19 patients.
Files Patent for COVID-19
Last month, Cardiol reported filing a new patent application covering the use of CBD to improve the outcome of patients that have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The application includes the use of CBD to reduce the severity of disease in COVID-19 patients who have pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, and to prevent the progression of such conditions.
Reference: Shaobo Shi et al., ‘Association of Cardiac Injury with Mortality in Hospitalized Patients With COVID-19 in Wuhan, China’, JAMA Cardiology, 25 March 2020
COVID-19 has caught the world by surprise and more than 15 million people have been diagnosed with the virus (July 23, 2020, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1?). Although COVID-19 is considered to be primarily a respiratory disease, there have been an increasing number of studies that indicate that COVID-19 patients are more likely to develop cardiovascular complications.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology showed that 35% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD). Other studies show that COVID-19 patients are more likely to develop cardiovascular complications even if they do not have pre-existing CVD.
The cannabis industry has been turning its attention to COVID-19 and experimental evidence shows that CBD can help reduce cardiac and vascular inflammation, oxidative stress, and cardiac dysfunction.
Cardiol has been highly focused on this opportunity and a pre-clinical research study in a model involving cardiac injury demonstrated that Cardiol’s pharmaceutically produced CBD has a cardioprotective effect. The company’s product showed a reduction of fibrosis, cardiac hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart), and the cardiac re-modelling marker BNP.
Announces Positive Data from a Heart Failure Study
In June, Cardiol reported data on its nanotechnology approach to drug delivery. The study was conducted at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and the results showed a greater than 100-fold increase in the uptake of Cardiol’s nanoparticles in heart failure hearts when compared with control hearts in a pre-clinical model of non-ischemic heart failure. These results show the tremendous potential for the successful delivery of anti-fibrotic drugs to the diseased region of the heart.
The results provide new insights into how nanotherapeutics may be utilized to target the anti-fibrotic properties of CBD to fibrous tissue in the failing heart. The specific targeting of the fibrotic tissue in the heart offers the potential to prevent the progression of heart failure and this could prove to be a substantial opportunity for Cardiol.
A Business that is in a League of its Own
Cardiol’s proprietary nanotechnology is designed to enable the distribution of water-insoluble drugs within the blood circulation, improve pharmacokinetics, and facilitate drug accumulation in the failing heart. The company’s nanoparticles are based on a patented family of biocompatible and biodegradable amphiphilic block co-polymers made from polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polycaprolactone (PCL).
Cardiol’s management team has been highly focused on the biotech side of the cannabis industry. If you look at companies like $4 Billion+ market cap GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) or $5 Billion market cap MyoKardia (MYOK), you will notice that their stocks took off when they announced positive clinical trial data. When it comes to bringing cannabis-based pharmaceutical drugs to market, GW set the stage for Cardiol and we see potential for Cardiol to become the GW Pharma of Heart Disease.
Over the next year, we expect to learn more about the studies that Cardiol is focused on and believe that the business is in the early innings of a major growth cycle. The company recently completed an oversubscribed private placement and raised more than $17 million. Cardiol intends to use the proceeds to support the commercialization of its pharmaceutical CBD products, the ongoing research and clinical development programs that are focused on heart failure, and for additional product development.
Fully Funded and Positioned for Long-Term Growth
The closing of the financing leaves the company well-positioned to execute on a strategy that is designed to address significant opportunities in healthcare. Through strategic relationships with leading international research institutions, Cardiol has the opportunity to develop new therapies to address inflammation in heart failure and in other cardiovascular abnormalities.
While the company works to develop game-changing pharmaceutical treatments, it will be selling its commercial CBD product, CardiolRx, through its national supplier agreement with Medical Cannabis by Shoppers. CardiolRx is pharmaceutically produced CBD that is ultra-pure and is formulated specifically for medical purposes. It is free from the psychotropic effects of THC and is produced using controlled processes in approved pharmaceutical facilities. This allows for consistent quality and purity from batch to batch.
Over the long term, Cardiol plans to commercialize CardiolRx in the billion-dollar market for medicinal cannabinoids in Canada and is pursuing distribution opportunities in Europe and Latin America. We believe that this pharmaceutical CBD company has substantial growth prospects and is an opportunity to be aware of.
At current levels, we believe Cardiol has a compelling valuation and a favorable risk-reward profile. Over the next year, we expect the company to report impressive growth and we will monitor how it is able to execute on previously announced initiatives. If Cardiol can advance clinical trials, we expect to see a GW-like response.
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