February will mark three years since the Australian government gave medical cannabis the green light under the Narcotic Drug Amendment Bill.
Since then, there has been plenty more legislative amendments, and state governments have also gone on to legalise the drug under their own schemes, with New South Wales and Victoria appearing to lead the charge. Victoria has now expanded the scope for patients to access medical cannabis beyond those patients with epilepsy.
This shift in public sentiment has driven the growth of the industry, and there are now nearly 30 ASX-listed companies with a cannabis focus: from traditional drug research and development to the sale of cannabis-infused beer.
MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) was one of the early market entrants, listing on the ASX in May 2016. Since then, the business has gone on to establish itself as one of the eminent medical cannabis companies, with operations spanning Australia and Europe.
Last month, its first cannabis product, CannEpilTM, arrived in Australia available for patient supply under the Authorised Prescriber scheme as an Investigational Medicinal Product (IMP), following its endorsement from the Human Research Ethics Committee at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne for the treatment of adult patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.
CEO of MGC Pharmaceuticals, Roby Zomer, said: “We are very excited at the prospect of ramping up production to a commercial scale and bringing CannEpil to Australia. This important step marks the start of commercial revenues from our first Investigational Medicinal Product offering.”
Research and development also forms a key part of MGC’s strategy and the company will soon be commencing its Phase 2 clinical trial of its GMP-certified CogniCannTM formulation, its cannabis medication for anxiety in dementia and Alzheimer patients.
The trial will be carried out in partnership with the Institute for Health Research at the University of Notre Dame (UNDA) and will enrol 50 participants aged 65 years and older in a 16-week trial.
Further supporting its R&D commitment, MGC has partnered with renowned medical cannabis research universities, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ), to create an international research hub, to be called CannaHub, bringing together existing and new projects in medical cannabis.
The hub is hoped to become a go-to international library of research, data and analytics on medicinal cannabis, and to drive the research and development of new innovative medical cannabis treatments and technologies.
“No platform currently exists to centralise all the information in relation to cannabis medications,” Mr Zomer said.
“We expect the hub to attract a range of projects across the medical cannabis industry, and most importantly for MGC is that we will have a stake in all intellectual property that is born from the hub, providing the opportunity to expand our portfolio and creating further value for shareholders.”
MGC has also commenced the build of its manufacturing and cultivation facilities in Malta that will continue in 2019. Once operational, the Maltese facility will allow MGC to cultivate all THC and CBD medical cannabis strains and will become the hub of its cultivation operations.
Overall, 2019 looks set to be another year of advancement for medical cannabis, with more potential listings of medical cannabis stocks on the cards, and there appears to be plenty of opportunity both domestically and in international markets.
This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with MGC Pharmaceuticals. This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.
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