Tuesday 22 October 2019

Irish firm develops cannabis skin cream

Pot of gold: analysis has valued the market opportunity for the cannabis compound at €14bn. Stock image
Pot of gold: analysis has valued the market opportunity for the cannabis compound at €14bn. Stock image
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Irish company Integumen, listed on AIM in London, has developed a cannabis-infused skin cream that reduces bacterial growth by 99pc according to preliminary tests.

The company, chaired by Venn Life Sciences boss Tony Richardson, made a version of its 'Stoer' cream containing cannabinoid oils (CBD).

CBD is a chemical compound found in cannabis, seen as having potential therapeutic uses.

"Tests were carried out on bacteria common to human skin. The bacteria tested are known to be one of the leading causes of foreign body infections with resistance to some antibiotics," Integumen said.

"While these are preliminary tests, with further results to follow, it provides clear evidence that the addition of CBD to cosmetics and skin-care treatments can play a major role in lowering the incidence of skin diseases."

The company floated on AIM in April 2017 at 5p a share and has had a rocky ride since then. Yesterday the shares closed at around 1.4p each, even after a substantial jump in the wake of the announcement last week.

CEO Gerard Brandon, who took up the role last year, said he expected to make further announcements on the product over the coming weeks.

The company is looking to test whether the product could help treat eczema or acne.

"I am delighted that collaboration processes, put in place by new management in H2 2018, have resulted in achieving such a great outcome in a very short period of time. This shows the extent and value of the technology and clinical expertise that exists within Integumen," Mr Brandon said.

Nearly 7pc of Americans are already using CBD in some form, placing the potential market opportunity for the much-hyped cannabis compound at $16bn (€14.2bn) by 2025, according to a new analysis by brokers Cowen & Co.

Cowen's January consumer survey of approximately 2,500 adults found 6.9pc of respondents use CBD as a supplement.

"This initial response piqued our interest considerably, as it was much higher than we would have suspected," and compared to 4.2pc who reported use of Juul Labs' e-cigarette devices and 19.6pc who consider themselves current tobacco users, analyst Vivien Azer said in a note.

Based on this surprising level of consumer awareness, Cowen "conservatively" sees CBD use growing to 10pc of US adults or 25 million consumers by 2025.

Although CBD is promoted as an effective treatment for everything from arthritis to insomnia, the only clinically proven remedy is as a treatment for two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

The US Food and Drug Administration has said it's illegal to market CBD products as dietary supplements, and any CBD product marketed as having therapeutic benefits must be approved for its intended use before it's introduced into inter-state commerce.

Additional reporting Bloomberg

Irish Independent

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