Top Canadian licensed producer wins deal with pharma giant Sandoz

Posted on March 21st, 2018 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

cannabisA British Columbia firm which is one of Canada's leading licensed producers of medical marijuana has entered a partnership with the national subsidiary of Sandoz, a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry. The deal is being hailed as a milestone that signals the arrival of cannabis in the corporate economy.

A business alliance that seems to symbolize the fast pace of the cannabis industry's globalization is wedding a Canadian cultivator with one of the world's largest drug and agro-chemical companies.

The firm Tilray, one of the top Licensed Producers under the Canadian medical marijuana program, on March 18 announced that it has signed a binding "letter of intent" to form a “strategic partnership” with Sandoz Canada, arm of Sandoz International GmbH. The Swiss-based giant is, in turn, a wing of Novartis International, the fourth-largest pharmaceutical company in the world by revenue.

Canada's Financial Post reports that the partnership will see co-branded products, joint research and development, and Sandoz Canada’s sales department working to place non-smokable Tilray preparations in pharmacies and hospitals across the country—pending regulatory approval. The Financial Post hails the arrangement as "the first deal between a major pharmaceutical company and a Canadian cannabis producer."

Tilray, headquartered in the Vancouver Island port city of Nanaimo, is owned by Seattle cannabis-industry investment firm Privateer Holdings. In 2014, it became the tenth company to secure a license under Health Canada's Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

Tilray is also the first company worldwide to legally export medical cannabis into the European Union. It acheived this position after winning a Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) certification under European Medicines Agency standards in December 2016, as in-Pharma trade website noted.

A Tilray press release, online at Business Wire, calls the pact with Sandoz a "major milestone in the recognition of medical cannabis and cannabinoids as conventional medicine." It boasts that "Tilray currently supplies tens of thousands of patients with high-quality, cGMP-certified products in ten countries spanning five continents."

Tilray's global operations are expanding fast. Last year, it received a license to cultivate cannabis and process medications in Portugal. The company is hoping to begin operations in the Iberian peninsula country this year, according to a February press release. Tilray will now be cultivating at the BIOCANT Research Park in Portugal's coastal town of Cantanhede as well as its own Vancouver Island facilities. An indoor laboratory and genetics bank is already complete at the BIOCANT center, with an expansive greenhouse under construction. Tilray products are now available in Germany, the Czech Republic, Croatia and other European countries.

Tilray also just became the first company to export medical cannabis products to South Africa "for nationwide distribution to qualified patients through pharmacies." A press release notes that this marks the first such exports to anywhere on the continent of Africa. In a partnership with South Africa's BGM Pharmaceuticals, Tilray is providing orally administered extracts, soon to be available in the country's pharmacies.

Last year Tilray won a contract with Chile to help oversee the South American country's medical marijuana program, in an alliance with Alef Biotechnology

Tilray is similarly exporting to New Zealand as of last year. In Australia, it is partnering with the University of Sydney and government of New South Wales to study medical cannabis as a treatment for symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Canada's Licensed Producers increasingly seem poised to dominate the country's coming "recreational" market as well as the medical industry after general legalization takes effect this year.  Another Licensed Producer, Cronos Group of Toronto, last month became the first corporate cannabis cultivator to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Pioneer Holdings in 2014 won some controversy when it announced plans to market a "Marley Natural" line of cannabis products, cashing in on the image of the late reggae superstar.

Cross-post to Cannabis Now

Photo by WikiMedia


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