Cannabis may be federally illegal, but if all you did was pay attention to the stock market, you’d never know. For the most part, cannabis stock are relegated to penny stocks on the OTC Markets, but an elite group of cannabis companies have been able to push through and make it to larger exchanges; like the NASDAQ and New York Stock Exchange.
In part two of our two-part series, Cannabis Stocks, Green Market Report takes a look at the cannabis companies that have managed to make it on to the NASDAQ Exchange (NDAQ). If you missed Part One, you can click here to get caught up.
Origo Acquisition Corp.
Origo Acquisition Corporation (OACQ) is what’s known as a blank-check company, which is a company that either does not have a business plan or has a business plan that based around mergers and acquisitions; in Origo’s case, it is the latter. Origo made its NASDAQ debut on Jan. 9, 2015. Most notably, the company attempted a merger with cannabis publishing giant High Times, but the merger has failed to close as of yet. Origo has until March 2018 to close the deal. Complicating that, however, are the efforts on behalf of NASDAQ to kick Origo off of the exchange due to not have 300 shareholders and then failing to hold an annual meeting for the 2016 fiscal year. Filing an appeal, Origo has until Feb. 19, 2018, to come into compliance or risk delisting. Despite its troubles with NASDAQ, Origo’s stock has shown solid growth for the last five years and is currently trading at $10.70 per share.
GW Pharmaceuticals, plc (GWPH) is a British biopharmaceutical company that specializes in cannabis-based medicines. The company is best known for its product Sativex, which is the first natural cannabis plant derivative in the world to gain market approval and is used to treat patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. GW was first listed on the NASDAQ exchange on May 3, 2013. Recently, the company has been developing Epidiolex, a drug used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Currently trading at $132.16 per share, GW’s stock has seen its share of ups and downs over the last few years; but positive results from Epidiolex clinical trials have helped the company’s revenue jump by more than 200% in the first quarter of the fiscal year.
Making its first appearance on the NASDAQ in 1996, INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. (INSY), a manufacturer of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and spray technology, is a troubled company, to say the least. Insys is the manufacturer of Syndros, a synthetic form of THC and one of the few competitors to AbbVie’s (ABBV) Marinol. But Insys is also the manufacturer of Subsys, a sublingual spray of fentanyl, a drug which has landed the company is some very hot legal water. Several states have already sued Insys over allegedly deceptive and illegal practices with regards to the marketing of Subsys; which include bribery and lying to healthcare providers. Worse still, INSYS founder John Kapoor was arrested in Arizona and charged with RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Law. As a result, INSYS stock, which is currently trading at $8.13 per share, has been on the steady decline since July 2015 and has shown little sign of recovery.
Corbus Pharmaceuticals (CRBP) late-stage stage clinical pharmaceutical company that’s kind of a cannabis company, but not really. First listed on the NASDAQ on April 17, 2015, Corbus Pharmaceuticals lead product is JBT-101, an oral endocannabinoid-mimetic drug used to treat various medical conditions, including cystic fibrosis. The key word here is mimetic, which means that the drug is not cannabinoid-based. Rather it mimics cannabinoids in order to bind to the CB2 receptors. Nevertheless, Corbus Pharmaceuticals has been branded a “cannabis stock” and has enjoyed the ensuing hype as a benefit. Recently the RDI and Raymond James have initiated coverage on the company with both a rating of Neutral and Outperform rating, respectively. Trading at $7.10 per share, Corbus Pharmaceuticals’ stock value has generally seen a slow march towards growth, with plenty of bumps along the way.
First listed on the NASDAQ on Jan. 31, 2014, Cara Therapeutics (CARA) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company with an interest in research cannabinoid receptors. Like Corbus Pharmaceuticals, Cara Therapeutics is and is not a cannabis stock. The company is considered a cannabis stock because of its cannabinoid-based medicine CR701, which is still in pre-clinical testing. The company’s lead product is CR845, an opioid-based medication. Used to treat chronic pain and itching, CR845 target kappa opioid receptors outside of the nervous system, which means it doesn’t enter the brain; making the drug nonaddictive. At approximately $12.79 per share, Cara Therapeutics stock is down approximately 53% from its all-time high of $26.95 per share back in June 2017.
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing transdermally-delivered cannabinoid therapeutics for patients suffering from severe neuropsychiatric conditions. Both products developed by the company are cannabinoid-based. ZYN001 is a patch that delivers THC directly into the patient’s system through the skin and is currently in Phase 1 clinical studies. ZYN002 is a cannabidiol-based gel that is being developed for patients afflicted with Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and certain refractory epilepsies. ZYN002 has been granted Orphan Drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of FXS. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals was first listed on the NASDAQ on Aug. 7, 2016, and shortly thereafter its stock shot up in value. Unfortunately, the company was not able to maintain its value and has been on a slow decline for the last year, with some signs of recovery since it bottomed out in August 2017.
Like many of the other cannabis stock listed on the NASDAQ, Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) is a biopharmaceutical company with an interest in cannabinoid-based research. Unlike some of its competitors, Arena has a diversified pipeline of cannabinoid-based medicines and non-cannabinoid medicines. The medicine getting the most buzz right now is APD371, an orally ingested medicine aimed at treating pain from Crohn’s disease. APD371 is being evaluated in a clinical study and is currently enrolling patients. First debuting on the NASDAQ on July 28, 2000, Arena’s stock never really recovered since the early 2000s market crash. However, the stock has seen improvement over the last year and may hold future promise if APD371 clinical trials are positive.