Israeli startup develops hand-held device for medical marijuana

As medical marijuana gains ground as a treatment for chronic pain, Israeli startup Syqe Medical is developing a hand-held device that yields more controlled cannabis dosage and provides an alternative to traditional delivery methods.  The company’s Syqe Inhaler vaporizes tiny granules of cannabis in doses as small as 1 mg, allowing physicians to fine-tune dosage and tailor treatment to each patient, The Wall Street Journal reports.  The palm-sized inhaler requires a fraction of the cannabis prescribed monthly and puts the drug in a form that makes it more difficult to resell on the black market, Syqe Medical CEO Perry Davidson told the WSJ.

Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist has already signed on to the technology, awarding $1 million in R&D stipends over the past three years to help the company develop its innovative device.  Syqe Medical’s inhaler, described in a recent Israeli clinical study published in the September issue of the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, chalked up praise as Elon Eisenberg, director of the Pain Relief Unit at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, described the device to the WSJ as “adding a much needed treatment in the limited armamentarium of effective therapies for the management of chronic pain.”

Syqe Medical hopes to test the inhalers in local hospitals by the end of the year and collect $10 million to $15 million from investors in the meantime, Davidson said.  The company is also casting an eye toward the U.S. market, which it sees as growing by 8 times to reach $10 billion in the next 5 years.  “We see it as a challenge,” Davidson told the WSJ. “If we can unlock it … we believe that we can finally bring cannabis as a mainstream drug, and have physicians be comfortable using it.”

REFERENCE:  Fierce Medical Devices; 09 SEP 2014; Emily Wasserman

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