Last week ASX-listed Zelira Therapeutics, formerly Zelda Therapeutics, scored a new substantial shareholder when billionaire investor Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group upped its stake from 2 per cent to 5.2 per cent.
Earlier this month Zelira confirmed its cannabinoid insomnia medicine Zenivol had been made available in Australia under the nation’s special access scheme for cannabis products.
Thorney bumped its stake after a private placement of 37 million shares at 5.4c each.
“The strategic focus on intellectual property protection, together with its capital light business model we believe positions the company strongly as it commences revenue generation,” Mr Waislitz said.
Meanwhile, former Ellerston Capital chief executive Glenn Poswell has seen opportunity in fellow pot play Incannex, which is aiming for FDA approvals for its cannabis based products.
Incannex is progressing trials for its major research programs and is hopeful of soon being able to show one of its flagship products is effective in protecting the brain against secondary injuries in the days and weeks after a traumatic brain injury or concussion.
The ASX-listed company launched an animal study for this concussion research earlier this year and is hoping to launch in-person trials when COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Mr Poswell has an investment in Incannex through his personal investment vehicle and said the company’s plan for regulatory approvals was unique.
“There is no other company doing what they are doing…I like the way they have gone about everything – it has been diligent and incredibly protected,” he said.
Aside from concussion treatment, it is looking at applying its cannabinoid products to treat acute respiratory distress and sleep apnoea. Last week the company got approval to launch a sleep trial in partnership with Melbourne’s Alfred hospital.
“They’re all [products] for specific indications, which is quite unusual in the cannabis world. They’re all unmet needs, where there is zero pharmacotherapy for them,” said Incannex chief medical officer Dr Sud Agarwal.
Dr Agarwal said the shift to reclassify CBD products to over-the-counter would have implications for how Australians — and their doctors — think about the sector.
“It’s a major move…and it’s one showing cannabis products are safe. It will socially normalise cannabis prescribing.
“It will be the first time that the generally healthy and well public will start accessing CBD for minor complaints.”
Emma reports on healthcare companies for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She is based in Melbourne.