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The CBD Drug Race: Zynerba Pharmaceuticals v. GW Pharmaceuticals

Z-ARCHIVE-Cannabis Patent Forecast®

December 10, 2020

We’ve all heard of cannabis patent leader GW Pharmaceuticals, Plc but have you heard of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Newer to the scene, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals is developing technologies right up GW Pharmaceuticals’ alley - cannabis-based treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders. Zynerba’s focus is on transdermal cannabinoid formulations for treating rare and near-rare disorders like Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), which it received its first patent (U.S. Patent No. 10,213,390) for in February of 2019. The patent covers Zynerba’s Zygel®  transdermal CBD medication, which it will also seek to use to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in pediatric patients, 22q, and a heterogeneous group of rare and ultra-rare epilepsies known as developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE). 

The furthest along Zynerba’s pipeline is treatment for FXS. Zynerba released the topline results from the FXS pivotal trial late 2nd quarter of 2020 and will begin discussion with the FDA for approval of the drug. Currently, GW Pharmaceuticals is the only company with an FDA approved cannabis-based CBD medication, Epidiolex® , for treating 3 disorders. Gaining approval can really bring Zynerba Pharmaceuticals to the spotlight as it did for GW Pharmaceuticals.

As of the date of this writing, GW Pharmaceuticals owns 68 patents related to cannabis including 2 design patents for vaping technology. GW Pharmaceuticals is nearly a decade older than Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, which was founded in 2007. Let’s see how GW Pharmaceuticals’ patenting strategy compares to Zynerba Pharmaceuticals’ when they were the same age. 

By the time cannabis giant GW Pharmaceuticals was 13 years of age (same age as Zynerba Pharmaceuticals as of December 2020), it had applied for 56 patent applications and received 33 patents. Of the 33 patents, seven are continuation patents and one is a divisional patent. This is an advantageous strategy as additional matter or inventions may be claimed for added coverage. Many of its patents are directed to CBD and THC formulations to treat disorders as well as extraction methods and processes. Epidiolex is covered by a number of these patents, including most recently granted U.S. Patent No. 10,849,860 which covers the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of epilepsy.  

To date, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals has applied for 20 patent applications and has been granted 14 patents, nowhere near as aggressive with filing as GW Pharmaceuticals. Taking a similar approach, five of the granted patents are continuations and two are divisional patents. Eleven patents are directed to Zygel with the most recent patent granted specifically for treating Fragile X Syndrome. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals is setting itself up properly for a merger or acquisition soon.  

It’s no question that GW Pharmaceuticals is keeping an eye on Zynerba Pharmaceuticals and we may see a joint development from the two, as GW Pharmaceuticals did with its partnership with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals in 2007. Anyhow, Zynerba is positioned well to soon make moves in the medicinal cannabis industry. 

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Relevant Patent Documents

Patent US10213390  

Patent US10849860  

Patent US10758497  

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