Avicanna Launches RHO Phyto™ Topical Gels in Canada and Initiates Clinical Studies

Published: February 4, 2021

Avicanna Launches RHO Phyto™ Topical Gels in Canada and Initiates Clinical Studies

Avicanna Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of plant-derived cannabinoid-based products announced the launch of the RHO Phyto™ Deep Tissue Gels (the RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gels) through Medical Cannabis by Shoppers Drug Mart as well as through additional adult use channels. The Company is also pleased to announce the initiation of pre-clinical osteoarthritis evaluations after successful in vitro studies and the enrollment of the Deep Tissue Gels in the Medical Cannabis Real World Evidence (MC-RWE) study. The MC-RWE study is led by the University Health Network (UHN) with the goal to evaluate the effectiveness of medical cannabis on pain, sleep and other related comorbidities.

The RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gels synergistically combine natural clove oil and menthol with cannabinoids and natural polyphenols in advanced emulsions which are optimized for faster absorption and deeper delivery. The RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gel formulations are also designed for long term cannabinoid shelf-life stability and accurate dosing with cooling sensation, and pleasant mint aroma. The deep tissue technology has been developed and optimized by Avicanna’s research and development team. Over the last 3 years, the RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gel formulations have been validated by a series of preclinical studies where both stability and enhanced absorption into the deeper layers of the skin were shown.

The Cannabis and Pharmaceutical Market Opportunity

The launch of the RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gels comes at a time when patients and consumers are seeking cannabinoid-based topical products and, despite the regulatory changes in October 2018 (“Cannabis 2.0”), there has been a limited number of topical products available in the projected $3B Canadian cannabis market. In a 2018 Cannabis Report by Deloitte, 53% of users suggested they would try topical products in view of the new regulations. Additionally, 79% of these new users would like to use a topical product for potential pain relief.

Additionally, further clinical development of the RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gel formulations is progressing with the goal of eventual registration as over-the-counter (“OTC”) drugs in legally permissible markets for relief of local pain associated with inflammation. The RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gel product line is designed to compete with the current “gold standard” products such as Voltaren™.

Avicanna’s CEO, Aras Azadian commented: “With the launch of our topicals in Canada, we continue to validate our scientific capabilities of developing, optimizing and commercializing industry leading products and are extremely optimistic about their potential in the Canadian market. Additionally, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to our evidence-based approach with our recent results and initiation of further trials. As a cannabinoid-based biopharmaceutical company we are in a truly unique place to be able to commercialize these products through cannabis channels while we continue to make progress in their clinical development towards pharmaceutical drugs in parallel.”

Clinical Development

Expanding on existing evidence1,2, the RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gels are formulated to deliver a synergistic combination of cannabinoid and other active ingredients including Beta Caryophyllene in a topical formulation to address joint and muscle pain related to inflammation. To demonstrate potential efficacy, the products have been enrolled in Canadian preclinical studies to their efficacy in addressing localized pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. The studies also seek to compare the efficacy of the RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gels, with varying cannabinoid ratios, to Voltaren.

In addition, the RHO Phyto Deep Tissue Gel will be available in the MC-RWE studies led by UHN. This observational trial will evaluate the effectiveness of medical cannabis products on chronic pain, sleep, anxiety and depression through the completion of validated questionnaires over a 24 week period.

[1] Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, Abshire SM, McIlwrath SL, Stinchcomb AL, Westlund KN. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain 2016;20: 936–48.
[2] Lowin T, Schneider M, Pongratz G. Joints for joints: cannabinoids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol 2019;31:271–8.

Avicanna is a diversified and vertically integrated Canadian biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of plant-derived cannabinoid-based products for the global consumer, medical, and pharmaceutical market segments.

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