AAP Finance

Zelira shares soar on marijuana trial

By AAP Newswire

Zelira Therapeutics shares have surged more than 25 per cent after a clinical trial showed its medical marijuana drug candidate successfully treated chronic insomnia.

Twenty-three chronic insomniacs who were treated with Zelira's ZLT-101 pill slept significantly longer, went to sleep faster and went back to sleep sooner after waking, the ASX-listed medical marijuana company says.

The participants spent between 33 to 65 more minutes asleep each night and their symptoms, as measured in a standard seven-question insomnia test, decreased an average of 26 per cent.

They also felt more rested, less stressed and less fatigued, according to Zelira.

The patients were treated for 14 nights with ZTL-101 and 14 nights with a placebo, separated by a one-week washout period, for the study by the University of Western Australia's Centre for Sleep Science.

The study was double-blind, meaning neither the researchers or patients knew whether they were taken the drug or placebo but at least one study participant began to suspect he was on the real thing.

Sleep Science director Peter Eastwood, the principal director for the study, called the results were "impressive" and suggested ZLT-101 could be developed as a treatment for chronic insomnia.

"This is a very exciting outcome," he said.

Zelira said it hoped to launch its insomnia product in places where medicinal cannabis had been legalised, including in Australia, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The product was on track to launch in Australia in the early third quarter, Zelira said.

"In addition to insomnia, we'll also be targeting indications such as chronic pain, mental and neurological disorders where insomnia is recognised as a key risk factor for disease," said Dr Richard Hopkins, Zelira's managing director ex-US markets.

At 1426 AEDT, Zelira shares were up 27.8 per cent to 4.6 cents.