When the former head of a successful multinational pharmaceutical company joins a tiny new pharma enterprise harnessing the remarkable curative powers of cannabis, it’s no surprise that the world sits up and takes notice.
Under the chairmanship of Ron Mayron, Teva Israel’s former CEO, InnoCan is developing an over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatment for psoriasis and pain that combines proven drugs with cannabis compounds CBD and hemp oil, which have been shown to enhance the effectiveness of those drugs.
“Our uniqueness is pharma meeting non-pharma,” Mayron tells ISRAEL21c.
“Cannabinoids can give great added value, much of which is not even known yet. On the other hand, regulation is not very clear and differs in different countries. The logic of our pharma company is to take existing pharmacological ingredients and add synergetic cannabinoid ingredients that dramatically increase their efficiency.”
Founded earlier this year, InnoCan raised nearly ₪3 million in equity on Israeli crowdfunding platform Pipelbiz, taking advantage of a new Israeli law enabling the public to purchase shares in startups before they go public. That’s planned for later this year on the Canadian exchange.
InnoCan’s leadership – Mayron, founder Yoram Drucker and CEO Iris Bincovich – is overseeing product development and patent applications from the company’s Herzliya office.
Mayron explains that the first two indications were chosen because there is a lot of research on cannabinoid-combined treatments for psoriasis and pain from muscles, joints or arthritis. There is a multibillion-dollar market in products to treat these conditions.
What’s more, InnoCan expects to leverage a rapid US Food and Drug Administration OTC drug process or similar regulatory pathways in Europe and Canada to shorten the regulatory approval process.
“Our go-to-market strategy is either to license the formulations to strategic partners locally, regionally and globally and/or to collaborate with local distributors,” says Mayron.
He says the InnoCan products will be clinically validated through post-marketing surveillance studies.
In the future, InnoCan plans to develop an expanded product family for indications including oral hygiene, eczema/itching, skin support after chemotherapy and women’s health.
Standing out from the crowd
Considering that Israel is a global leader in cannabis research and medical cannabis products to treat a long and ever-growing list of conditions, Mayron and Drucker decided on a unique approach that sets them apart: combining smart delivery systems to enhance the potency and efficacy of current products for better results.
They gathered a diverse team of people with pharma industry experience as “sailors” to help them navigate the blue ocean of opportunity.
“I believe that more and more companies will adopt this approach but I think we are one of the few in such an advanced stage,” says Mayron. “It’s a fast-growing industry with a lot of potential and we see the opportunity to be a leader.”
Israel also has dozens of approved cannabis farms, but the government has not yet come to an agreement on regulations regarding import of cultivars and export of plants for medical cannabis purposes.
As to where the raw ingredients will be sourced for InnoCan products, Mayron says, “We are Israeli and will always do our utmost to buy as much as possible in Israel, but first a lot of restrictions around export and import have to be settled.”
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