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  • Incannex Healthcare (IHL) has reported some strong results for early-stage animal testing of its IHL-675A product to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • The medicinal cannabis company’s drug combines cannabidiol (CBD) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat inflammatory conditions
  • The drug has already shown positive results against several conditions and has now proven more effective at treating rheumatoid arthritis than CBD and HCQ on their own
  • In a rat trial, IHL-675A performed better than CBD and HCQ in all key medical markers for rheumatoid arthritis
  • What’s more, Incannex’s drug achieved better results at a tenth of a standard HCQ dose
  • This is important given HCQ is already an approved treatment for arthritis but cumulative doses carry risks associated with vision loss and heart conditions
  • Incannex said it is now working with a team of scientists and advisors to advance IHL-67A for use in human patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Shares in IHL have tacked on 7.32 per cent this afternoon to trade at 22 cents each

Incannex Healthcare (IHL) has reported some strong results for early-stage animal testing of its IHL-675A product to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

The medicinal cannabis company said its anti-inflammatory IHL-675A compound has shown “potent anti-inflammatory activity” in both animal and lab tests, with the US$57 billion (around A$73.6 billion) rheumatoid arthritis market the latest potential target of the drug.

Incannex’s IHL-675A combines cannabidiol (CBD) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat inflammation.

The drug is already being trialled as a treatment for a range of lung inflammatory conditions including sepsis associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (SAARDS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and more.  

According to Incannex, its latest animal trial of IHL-675A showed the drug has stronger anti-inflammatory action against arthritis than both CBD and HQC on their own.

The arthritis study

To test IHL-675A against rheumatoid arthritis, Incannex induced arthritis in ten groups of six rats and one sham-injected group.

The company then treated the rats with either CBD, HCQ, or the IHL-675A, which combines the two, once per day for 14 days.

The drugs were administered in various doses representative of standard human doses based on body surface area equivalents for rats to humans.

After the final day of treatment, blood was collected from all rats and analysed for various inflammatory markers.

The results found that IHL-675A outperformed CBD and HCQ alone at equivalent doses on all key measurements, including paw volume score, pannus formation, and total histology score.

Moreover, IHL-675A showed a reduction in disease of between 1.07 and 8.72 times that observed for HCQ alone at equivalent doses.

What does this mean for Incannex?

The efficacy of IHL-675A compared to hydroxychloroquine on its own is particularly important for Incannex given HCQ is already an approved treatment for rheumatoid arthritis through the Plaquenil brand.

However, long-term use of HCQ as a treatment carries some significant risks associated with vision loss and heart conditions.

The risks of these conditions grow with cumulative doses of HCQ — meaning lower doses of the drug have a lower risk of these adverse side-effects.

Incannex’s combination of HCQ and CBD through the IHL-675A drug has the potential to produce the same effect as stand-alone HCQ but at a tenth of the dose.

Based on the rat test, a low dose of IHL-675A, which contains 2.5 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of MCQ, was more effective at treating arthritis than a standard dose of 25 mg/kg of HCQ.

Incannex CEO and Managing Director Joel Latham said the company is “delighted” with the results from the study.

“Hydroxychloroquine is an established medication for rheumatoid arthritis and IHL-675A has been demonstrated to outperform it at reducing disease severity in an animal model,” Joel said.

“The observation that IHL-675A was as effective or better than a standard dose of hydroxychloroquine, even though it contained 90 per cent less drug, is an exciting result for the company,” he said.

“It indicates that IHL-675A has the potential to be a breakthrough in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in humans.”

He said the company is now working with a team of scientists and advisors to advance IHL-67A for use in human patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Investors responded well to today’s news, with Incannex shares up 7.32 per cent at 11:29 am to trade at 22 cents each. The company has a $232.5 million market cap.

IHL by the numbers
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