Friday, October 05, 2018

Hydrogenics: Ready to Throw a Party

The hydrogen technology developer Hydrogenics Corporation (HYGS:  Nasdaq) is taking on wind energy.  The company’s fuel cell power systems for stand-by and site power sources, hydrogen generators for industrial situations, and energy storage and fuel solutions for fleet owners.  Hydrogen has gained in popularity because it is a zero-emission fuel source when burned with oxygen.  The energy efficiency of hydrogen as a transportation fuel is also enticing.  An electric motor powered by hydrogen fuel cell is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline.
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Hydrogen is not without its critics.  One of the criticisms is that hydrogen is not entirely a carbon-neutral fuel source.  The majority of hydrogen in the United States is produced in a steam reforming process using natural gas.  However, the argument is short-sighted given that hydrogen can be produced from water through electrolysis.  Combined with a renewable energy source such as wind or solar to trigger the electrolytic process, hydrogen can be low-carbon as well as zero-emissions.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Adial: Promising Relief for Addiction


References to abuse and dependence on alcohol trace back to the earliest Egyptian and Babylonian writings.  Yet the idea that excessive alcohol use causes problems had mixed acceptance.  The adverse effects of habitual alcohol abuse did not gain widespread recognition until the mid-19th century when ‘alcoholism’ finally appeared in the lexicon. 
It has not been until the last few decades that any significant progress has been made in understanding the effects of alcohol on the human body.  It warrants a new name  -  alcohol use disorder (AUD)  -  to fully encompass the many paths to dependence on alcohol and the understanding of it as a chronic relapsing brain disease. 

Even as scientists have gained insight into alcohol’s ravages on mind and body, effective treatments for alcohol use disorder (AUD) have remained limited.  Early stage biotech Adial Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ADIL:  Nasdaq) is trying to change that with development of a therapeutic compound based on ondansetron, a well known serotonin antagonist.  Adial is building on earlier work using ondansetron as a treatment of severe nausea and vomiting.  The company is about to begin a clinical trial targeting binge drinkers  -  the only Phase III clinical trial in the world set to begin in 2018  -  that could bring relief to a disorder that causes pain and loss to millions.
An Underserved Market
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) completed in 2015, an estimated 15.1 million people in the United States over the age of 18 years had AUD.  The group is tilted toward men  -  9.8 million men versus 5.3 million women.  Tragically, only 6.7% of the adults who were thought to have AUD in that year received treatment.  Men (7.4%) were more likely to get treatment than women (5.4%).

Friday, September 28, 2018

Cannabis Cavalcade

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Cannabis is a busy, messy plant with lots of fiber in addition to its chemical constituents.  The typical cannabis plant produces between 8 to 100 cannabinoids and about 300 non-cannabinoid chemicals.  Among the primary cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)  -  the one that delivers the infamous ‘high’ associated with ‘smoking weed’ -  and cannabidiol (CBD).  Both have been found to have therapeutic effects, leading to approvals of cannabis for medical purposes in thirty-one of the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and District of Columbia.  Another fifteen states have laws on the books that allow use of cannabis with high cannabinoid content with low psychoactive effect, i.e. high CBD and low THC content.  
While there is little uniformity among the states in regulating production or distribution of cannabis, at the federal level the prohibition is clear and uniform across all states and territories.  The U.S. Federal Government has just NEVER accepted any medical use of cannabis.  At least that is what is stipulated by the prevailing Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Spot On: Uranium Inventories

The chart of spot uranium prices presents a dismal picture for this key energy commodity.  After a brief spike in early 2006, the spot price has been in a long-term slide down hill.  In the last year and a half it appears the price as found a level of support at the $20.00 price level as the shares have bounced around between that support level and up to the high 20s.  With each bound higher shareholders of uranium producers cheer the end of what has been a long ‘down’ cycle.  A click up to US$27.50 in recent days has sent uranium company shares higher.

The price chart also shows that there have been two attempts at recovery in the past, one in 2011 and another in early 2015.  What makes shareholders think this year is different?