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Insys Therapeutics Starts Enrollment in Cannabidiol Trial

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Insys Therapeutics, Inc. INSY announced that it has enrolled the first patient in a phase II trial on its pharmaceutical cannabidiol (CBD) product candidate.

The candidate is being evaluated for the treatment of cocaine dependence. The trial will determine the effects of CBD on the management of craving and withdrawal symptoms along with prevention of relapse, helping patients in both the initial stages of treatment and long-term commitment to remission of addiction.

The phase II study is being conducted by Dr. Didier Jutras-Aswad, MD, at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), and is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as well as Insys.

According to the company’s press release, cocaine addiction leads to over 500,000 emergency room visits per year and more than 5,000 deaths, resulting in significant financial and social burden related to crime, loss of productivity and healthcare costs.

We note that Insys currently markets Subsys, a fentanyl sublingual spray approved for the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain in opioid-tolerant patients.

The company recently received marketing approval for Syndros, an administered liquid formulation of dronabinol.

Another biopharmaceutical company, GW Pharmaceuticals plc GWPH is also developing therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform for the treatment of a broad range of diseases. The company has Sativex in its portfolio, the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.

Insys Therapeutics currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. PCRX and Corcept Therapeutics Inc. CORT. Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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