At first blush, India Globalization Capital (NYSE: IGC) would seem a curiosity clothed in an enigma. Just how does a NYSE company move from a successful mining orientation to a pioneer in the development of multiple cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical therapies to treat pain and disease? The enigma can be disrobed by looking at the tenacity and vision of its management.
Ram Mukunda has served as Executive Chairman, CEO and President of India Global since inception in 2005. He holds distinguished mathematics and engineering degrees and worked in multiple Wall Street positions for more than 25 years, serving communications firms such as Intelsat SA and Startec. Mukunda actually founded Startec in 1991 to provide VOIP service to emerging economies. As Chairman and CEO of Startec, he led the company to a $60 million public stock offering in 1997. His introduction to the mining industry came a few years later through a company he co-founded, India Globalization Capital. The company mined and converted low-grade iron ore to high-grade ore. Iron ore prices subsequently plummeted nearly 75 percent, putting it below the cost of production. That’s when Mukunda made a difficult decision and charted a course change for the company.
Realizing that the lucrative mining business was bust, he searched for a growth arena to position the company and move forward. He ultimately centered on the burgeoning cannabis industry and the myriad of potential medical benefits. Mukunda and his team realized that there were a lot of untapped uses for cannabinoids and cannabis-based extracts. They recruited a team of highly skilled doctors and patent attorneys, comparing anecdotal stories with scientific evidence and identifying areas where patents had not been filed. This process has yielded results.
The company now has a pipeline of patent pending cannabinoid-based drugs targeting large market maladies, which includes therapeutics for neuropathic pain, human and animal seizures, refractory epilepsy and eating disorders. Several of these therapeutic drugs are scheduled for pre-clinical trials this year. The company is transitioning fast from building research teams and developing a patent portfolio to marketable products.
For the past few years, India Globalization Capital has also focused interest on cannabis-based combination therapies, using cannabis-based extracts in combination with other medications to reduce side effects and increase bioavailability and absorption. As one of the first to enter this space, the company has been building intellectual property around these precepts and expects to reap substantial rewards from this arena.
From mining to medical marijuana would seem an incredible leap, but, when looking at India Global and the leadership of Ram Mukunda, it would be tough to bet against a leader with such tenacity and vision. And with a $12MM market cap, IGC is quite compelling given the valuations attributed to its peers.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.IGCinc.us
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