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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

Cure Pharmaceutical Buys Cannabis Drug Firm

Cure Pharmaceutical in Oxnard announced July 11 that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a pipeline of cannabis-based drugs from Therapix Biosciences Ltd. The purchase will improve Cure’s ability to integrate tested medications into the development of its primary product, a film that dissolves in the mouth to administer drugs through the oral blood vessels. “We see a lot of synergy between our companies,” Jessica Rousset, chief operating officer at Cure, said. “We’ll be applying our technologies and infrastructure to advance the clinical programs that we’ll be acquiring from Therapix.” Cure will execute the purchase by issuing shares of its common stock, which will make Israel-based Therapix a “significant” shareholder, Cure said. The firm did not disclose details of the transaction – including the types of medications it has agreed to buy, except that they will not include drugs for pain – as the deal is still in its earliest stages, Rousset said. “Our timeline is to have this tied up by early fall,” she said. Therapix’s medications and Cure’s technology are a particularly good fit because of the so-called “entourage effect,” which describes the way cannabis compounds work together to produce a biological effect. Therapix’s drugs are designed to take advantage of this, Rousset said. When delivered to the body through Cure’s oral film, which boosts a compound’s potency by sending it straight to the bloodstream rather than through the digestive tract, the therapeutic benefits of Therapix’s medications are maximized. “If you combine our approach, which is to take those compounds and make them in a way that increases their uptake, you get robust synergistic effects that impact safety and efficacy beyond what those separate technologies can do on their own,” Rousset explained. Bringing the drugs into the operational fold at Cure’s Oxnard facilities maximizes efficiency in terms of business development as well. Besides the advantages of vertical integration, such as manufacturing efficiency and quality control, the acquisition is good for Cure’s pending plan to uplist its stock from the over-the-counter market to the Nasdaq. “We believe that becoming a clinically staged company with vertically integrated drug development increases our value,” Rousset said. “There are various requirements from an evaluation perspective that we will be meeting more readily after the acquisition.” Senior Depression Grant A Facey Medical Group clinic in Mission Hills will launch a three-year program in partnership with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to improve health outcomes in seniors with age-related depression. Funding for the program came from a $375,000 grant from the Archstone Foundation, a Southern California nonprofit focused on issues related to aging. It will involve the recruitment of two “peer community workers” – seniors who have faced and recovered from depression themselves – to support patients age 65 and older who have been diagnosed with the condition and are enrolled in Medicare’s Advantage HMO program. Facey is affiliated with Providence Health & Services. Providence selected Facey’s Mission Hills location as the pilot site for the peer community workers program, in part because Facey has a population of 5,800 Medicare patients at the location. The workers will follow up with patients for three to six months about clinical appointments and medications. They also will conduct home visits during which they will identify areas for improvement. These findings will be brought before the patients’ primary care physicians, aiding them in developing treatment strategies, explained Karen Rentas, a clinical psychologist and supervisor for primary care and behavioral health at Providence. “Oftentimes providers working in a facility might not be aware of barriers patients are facing,” Rentas explained. “(Peer community workers) bring a lot of insight … on things we might overlook.” Even seemingly small things, like having access to pill boxes, can make a difference in a patient’s mental health outcomes, she said. Other factors community peer workers might identify include social needs, issues with transportation and high insurance co-pays, Rentas added. “There aren’t things providers are actively asking patients about,” she said. Peer community worker candidates will be identified through the depression alliance. In order to qualify, they will need to have experienced depression themselves and be willing to share their experience. Once chosen, they will undergo a five-day, 40-hour training curriculum to prepare them to work with patients with mental health issues, according to the alliance’s website. The concept is novel because it involves the use of support workers in primary care settings rather than in behavioral health alone, Rentas explained. “It’s a very innovative way to implement this,” she said. Staff reporter Helen Floersh can be reached at hfloersh@sfvbj.com or at (818) 316-3121.

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