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Tilray receives approval from US to import a medical cannabis study drug, shares soar almost 30%

The Canadian company’s medical cannabis product is being tested at the University of California San Diego as a treatment for a nerve disorder

Medical cannabis in pill form
Essential Tremor has extremely high prevalence rates with 0.4% of the general population suffering from it, and that figure rises to 6.3% among those 65 and older

Shares in Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY) shot up Tuesday after it announced that the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had approved the import of a Canadian cannabinoid study drug made by the company for a clinical trial at the University of California San Diego.  

Shares of the Canadian cannabis company shot up 28.95% to close at US$154.98 on Tuesday, having hit a 52-week high of US$155.10.

The stock then extended the rally by rising 5.81% to trade at US$163.99 in after-hours trade on Tuesday.

The university’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) is examining the pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis product’s safety, tolerability and efficacy for essential tremor, a nervous system or neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking.

Tilray is providing a cannabinoid formulation for the trial in capsule form, which will allow researchers to test an investigational drug product containing two active ingredients extracted from the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

READ: Beverage giant Coca-Cola interested in cannabis drinks, sending cannabis stocks higher

Dr Fatta Nahab, a board-certified neurologist and director of the Functional Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disorders Lab at the UC San Diego Health’s Movement Disorder Center, will serve as the principal investigator for the study. The trial is expected to begin in early 2019 with financial support from Tilray and the International Essential Tremor Foundation.

“Tilray is proud to support this crucial research,” said Dr Catherine Jacobson, director of Clinical Research, at Tilray. “If this study can identify cannabinoids as a potential treatment for patients suffering from essential tremor, we can conduct further research and potentially provide alternative effective methods of relief for the high numbers of patients with essential tremor.”

Essential Tremor has extremely high prevalence rates; 0.4% of the general population suffers from it, and that figure rises to 4.6% to 6.3% among those 65 and older. Many patients do not experience relief with the current drugs on the market or find the side-effects of these drugs to be unbearable.

“It’s exciting to advance our work in this area by conducting a first-of-its kind trial of purified medicinal cannabis for a common neurological disorder like essential tremor,” says Dr Nahab. “Until now patients have been on their own to figure out the efficacy, safety, and dosing of cannabinoids. This trial should help answer many of these critical questions.”

Contact Uttara Choudhury at uttara@proactiveinvestors.com

Follow her on Twitter@UttaraProactive 

Quick facts: Tilray Inc

Price: 21.63 USD

Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $3.72 billion

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