Echo's cannabis API delivery formulation could aid low solubility drugs

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Echo is investigating its delivery tech, Alitra, on its cannabis-based candidates
Echo is investigating its delivery tech, Alitra, on its cannabis-based candidates

Related tags Pharmacology

A drug delivery platform which increased the bioavailability of a cannabis-based drug candidate 30% could be used to boost solubility of other APIs, says Echo Pharmaceuticals.

Known as Alitra, the delivery platform is being investigated with Echo Pharmaceuticals’ cannabinoid-based drug candidate Arvisol, and in initial clinical trials the Dutch firm has reported an increase in bioavailability of 30%.

Arvisol contains CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive ingredient of the cannabis plant which, like THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), is soluble in oil, but not in water. Such lipophilic compounds are difficult for humans to absorb, and so Alitra helps improve this, said Echo spokesperson Melanie Wijnands.

“We have made a formulation that helps CBD and THC to dissolve in water and hence better absorbed by our bodies and taken up into our bloodstream,”​ she told

“This effectively means that a patient needs to take less of the active ingredient to achieve the same result. Most important benefit for patients is that it reduced side effects, reduces irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and improved safety for patients.”

While Echo has so far concentrated on using Alitra with its own products, but the platform is suitable for all lipophilic compounds, she continued, telling us about 40% of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are lipophilic and therefore difficult to administer orally.

The firm is not, therefore, averse to licensing out the technology with others, whether in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, or cosmetic industry, Wijnands said, adding the platform has also been tested with dietary supplement ingredient coenzyme Q10.

“From our perspective the main focus will remain on our proprietary cannabinoid API’s. If any other pharmaceutical company is interested to incorporate Alitra we would be very open to further discuss.”

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