Impression Healthcare (ASX: IHL) announced this morning that it has formally lodged its application to possess and supply “scheduled substances”, namely cannabinoids, in Australia.
Once the license is issued, IHL will also be able to import and export cannabinoid medicines to and from Australia.
IHL is expanding out from its Australian mould, after announcing a series of ventures over the past two weeks that will see the company’s existing oral dental products marketed in China and broader Asia, but also, expanding its scope of operations to include medicinal cannabis products for sale in the USA and Canada.
Medicinal Cannabis is one of the fastest emergent markets globally.
The international reach being sought by Impression involves both its existing dental care products and its more recently announced medical cannabis projects, whilst also not forgetting to strengthen its domestic market aspirations.
Prior to these agreements, Impression was predominantly an Australian-focused entity, which, by all accounts, faces limitations in regulatory conditions, demographics and market size.
However, the company’s growth potential moving forward has now increased substantially as a result of its series of expansion-focused decisions.
Oral devices in China
Just yesterday, Impression unveiled a heads of agreement (HoA) with Hong Kong-based marketing and distribution company, Pace Sports.
The move is designed to harness Pace’s significant operations in China and Asia and is aligned with various sporting organisations, which make use of the company’s strong position in the regional pharmacy retail sector.
The HoA outlines the development of an “exclusive sales and distribution agreement” for all of Impression’s oral devices with Pace CEO Gavin Parry expected to lead business development, given his veteran experience in the region whilst also serving as an advisor to the AFL Asia League Board.
Under the proposed agreement, Pace will market, promote and sell all of Impression’s proprietary products – Gameday Mouthguards, The Knight Guard, The Sleep Guardian and Instant Teeth Whitening products while Impression will retain ownership of all intellectual property including brands and manufacturing processes.
Impression will also retain control of all digital marketing platforms for the products and brands and has said it will manufacture the dental devices through dental laboratories in Shenzhen, China.
“The completion of this deal could be transformational to the company as the markets are huge and even minimal penetration will result in significant, and profitable, sales for Impression. We’re delighted to kick off this exciting relationship now, prior to the peak sales season, being the March and June quarters,” said Joel Latham, CEO of Impression Healthcare.
Mr Latham added that “This HoA is the second move in as many weeks, expanding IHL’s reach into major international markets and follows our licensing of proprietary technology for the creation of cannabinoid medicine, Dronabinol, in the key territories of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to create a global multi-faceted business”.
Medical cannabis US market entry
Impression has executed an exclusive license agreement with Resolution Chemicals, to support the production, registration and commercialisation of generic drug Dronabinol in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The prime commercial focus is likely to be the US given the size of the local market in North America, especially with the gradual increase in US states that are sequentially legalising both medicinal and recreational cannabis in the country.
Dronabinol is the first-ever authorised cannabis medicine in the US and already has a proven safety profile.
Impression has said the deal is designed to “avoid the heavy expense associated with drug development and trials,” and thereby puts the company in an advanced position to begin capitalising on growing demand for medical cannabis products in Western countries.
The ASX-listed company has said anticipates distributing Dronabinol under the Special Access Scheme and the Authorised Prescriber Scheme in Australia prior to pursuing wide-scale market authorisations in all other countries covered by the deal.
Australian cannabis licence
The third move undertaken by Impression in the past fortnight is the lodgement of its licence application to possess and supply “scheduled substances”, namely cannabinoids, in Australia.
Yesterday, Impression lodged its application with the Department of Health in Victoria, having recently completed the pre-license application process in conjunction with its pharmaceutical consultants.
According to IHL’s pharmaceutical consultants, the issuance of the licence should occur within 8 weeks, which puts the likely grant date sometime in Q1 2019.
One of Australia’s newest additions to the medical cannabis market says it has selected an off-site, secure location in Melbourne to conduct all activities pertaining to the cannabinoid medicine operations.
“Yesterday’s application lodgement represents an important milestone in IHL’s strategy to become a leading player in the cannabinoid-based medicine market by leveraging the intellectual property of existing market leaders”.
Once a license is issued IHL can sell approved cannabinoid medicines throughout Australia, where the law permits, under the Special Access Scheme and through the Authorised Prescriber Network [and] import and export cannabinoid medicines to and from Australia”, the company said.