- The Stroke Treatment Market is Expected to Reach a Value of $15 billion by 2027
- Algernon Pharmaceuticals, a drug repurposing company, is investigating the use of established psychedelic drug DMT for stroke treatment
- Algernon plans to be the first company in the world to pursue DMT for stroke in humans
Commercials and public service announcements about strokes focus on what the average person should be looking for: facial drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulties.
But what the average person doesn’t know about strokes is even more troubling.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 800,000 people suffer from strokes each year in the United States – the global number is around 15 million – which means that on average, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds and someone in dies every four minutes.
Of these millions of strokes, approximately 87% are ischemic, which means they are caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain – the others are hemorrhagic, caused by bleeding in the brain. Treatment of ischemic strokes usually involves blood thinners which should be given within three hours of the brain injury in an attempt to clear the blockage and minimize brain damage.
This can only be done once the type of stroke is confirmed with a CT scan, and due to its time-sensitive nature, only a tiny percentage of stroke patients receive such treatment. it’s quite another to undo the damage it has already done.
“If you could treat patients within that three-hour window or before the scan, and that helped, that would be a blockbuster drug.” — Christopher J. Moreau, CEO, Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
It is the purpose of Algernon Pharmaceuticals (CSE: AGN | OTCQB: AGNPF | XFRA: AGW).
The company is set to begin clinical trials in early 2022 for the use of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic compound known as “The Spiritual Molecule,to treat people who have suffered an ischemic stroke.
As a clinical-stage drug repurposing company that seeks new applications for drugs that are already approved and considered safe, Algernon is investigating the use of sub-hallucinogenic amounts of DMT to promote brain cell regeneration in victimized patients. of a stroke. CEO, Christopher Moreau, who has over 30 years of senior management experience in private and publicly traded companies, including a strong background in biotechnology research.
Preclinical trials show promise for stroke patients
A research paper published in Elsevier in May 2020 titled “N,N-dimethyltryptamine reduces infarct size and improves functional recovery after transient focal cerebral ischemia in rats”, showed that DMT helped with rewiring, growth cell and the establishment of new connections, or to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
The paper’s results also showed cell growth when DMT was applied, and animal testing demonstrated that the treatment produced in rats subjected to strokes showed smaller areas of brain cells. dead and faster recovery of motor function.
More recently, Moreau notes, Charles River Laboratories conducted preclinical research for Algernon at its facilities in Finland, studying whether neurons exposed to different subhallucinogenic concentrations of DMT for an hour would show signs of growth, which researchers elsewhere, including Prof. David Olson of the University of California had previously observed. The result? Cortical neurons that were subjected to DMT showed a 40% increase in growth compared to control samples.
The goal of these studies, Moreau says, is to identify a blood concentration (dose) and exposure time to target in the company’s Phase 1 study to optimize the neuroplastic effects of DMT without triggering hallucinations.
Clinical trials expected to start in the new year
That the desired effects occur without causing psychedelic effects is key for Algernon, Moreau says, noting that previously tested stroke drugs that caused hallucinations in patients were not advanced. After sustaining a brain injury, which often causes feelings of confusion, sending someone on a psychedelic trip could be problematic.
Whereas DMT is a controlled substance in most countries. however, there is an opening in some places to explore its healing properties. In the UK, for example, government regulators this year gave the green light to the first clinical trial using a psychedelic drug to treat depression.
Also in the UK, Algernon filed a scientific advisory meeting request with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to conduct clinical studies in stroke using DMT and reported have received positive feedback from the agency.
With its application to conduct clinical trials scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, Algernon has planned two phases of research: Phase 1, which is due to begin in January 2022, will study the safety and dose of DMT treatments; Phase 2 will further examine the use of DMT for patients with acute stroke and as an add-on treatment for patients starting treatment after stroke.
Future research could also examine whether DMT can be used in the treatment of hemorrhagic strokes, and this will depend on whether there is evidence that the drug does not increase a patient’s blood pressure or heart rate. Although this has been demonstrated in the research of Dr. Rick Strassman (author of the book “DMT – Spirit Molecule” and consultant to Algernon), Algernon wishes to confirm this data in its phase 1 study at different dose levels.
Algernon’s goal is to be able to treat stroke patients as quickly as possible – possibly via IV in an ambulance – meaning such treatment would not be dependent on a CT scan.
“If you could treat patients within that three-hour window or before the CT scan, and that helps,” Moreau says, “that would be a blockbuster drug.”
Key Leadership Added to Algernon Board
Moreau is upbeat about the search and optimistic about the company’s leadership, especially two relatively recent additions to its board.
Director Dr. Mark Williams was a co-founder of Algernon Pharmaceuticals’ drug redirection program and was the company’s chief scientific officer until earlier this year. He has over 15 years of experience in drug and medical device development, is the author of several patents and has expertise in moving companies from the discovery process to phase 2 trials.
The other new board member is Chairman and Director Harry JF Bloomfield, a lawyer, Harvard MBA, and philanthropist who has served on numerous public and private boards, including that of Miraculins Inc., a medical diagnostics where he was also president.
“We’ve tried to surround ourselves with quality medical and scientific consultants who live and breathe this space, and directors who can have a direct impact on the business with their background and experience,” Moreau says, noting, “I think that we were lucky to have the two join.
With this summit help and its clinical trials on the immediate horizon, Algernon is well positioned to create value for investors.
Massive global market for stroke treatment
“I think we have a very exciting and unique business model,” he says. “In the world of drugs, reusing a drug with a known safety history and trying to study it to find out if it has new potential uses is very profitable. And the drug can be brought to market in less than five years, compared to 13 years for a new chemical entity – and it has the same potential as a new drug.
And while DMT isn’t the only drug Algernon is researching — he’s also investigating ifenprodil as a potential treatment for coughs and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that causes the lungs to scar — the psychedelic is squarely targeted at a massive and growing market.
Strokes are costly, and not just for the many people who suffer long-term disability as a result. Total Stroke Costs almost 46 billion US dollars between 2014 and 2015 alone in the United States, according to the CDC, a figure that includes health care and drug costs as well as missed work.
On the potential revenue side, the stroke treatment market was valued at around US$8 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach a value of around US$15 billion by 2027.
“We are in a very good position,” said Moreau. “And we plan to move into our Phase 1 DMT stroke trial in January 2022.”
For more information about Algernon Pharmaceuticals, visit their website here.
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