MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX: MXC) has reached yet another regulatory milestone after the biopharmaceutical company confirmed it has been granted a cannabis research cultivation permit by the Australian Office of Drug Control (ODC).
The grant follows MGC’s cannabis research licence granted last year, in addition to a separate import licence obtained last week and is set to advance the company’s Australian operations as it attempts to commercialise its “nature to medicine” business strategy.
The newly granted permit will enable MGC to conduct botanical research projects in partnership with RMIT University, including cultivating and breeding various strains with the ultimate goal of testing their results against cancer cells, in a bid to improve anti-cancer treatments.
MGC said the new licence, combined with RMIT’s input, will enable the pair to “optimise efficacy” and confirmed that new strains will be screened for anti-cancer activity, specifically concerning melanoma and prostate cancers.
In a statement to the market, MGC said the approval will also allow it to register its genetics and research findings in Australia, which can be used and leveraged to meet future needs.
Moreover, a growing research database is expected to allow MGC to collaborate with other establishments across Australia to create new genetics and improve the existing genetics available within the Australian market.
“The grant of a cannabis research cultivation permit is an important step forward for MXC in Australia as we continue to broaden the potential application of our phytocannabinoid derived medicinal products,” MGC co-founder and managing director Roby Zomer said.
“Importantly, the permit also allows the company to collaborate with other establishments, to not only improve existing genetics, but also create new genetics for the Australian market,” he added.
In addition to advancing cultivation research, MGC is also keen to import bulk quantities of raw materials to create significant cost savings including lower logistics and handling costs.
Last week, the biopharma company announced it had been granted an import licence by the ODC.
The import licence enables MGC to directly import prescription-only medication (Schedule 4) and controlled drugs (Schedule 8) medicinal cannabis products into Australia from its European production facility, a process that was previously facilitated by third-parties including Cannvalate and Health House International.
MGC said it intends to bulk import its medicinal cannabis products for storage, distribution and sale across Australia through its commercial channel partners.
In the near-term, the company wants to expand imports to encompass a wider range of products including products from its Mercury Pharma brand such as MP1:1, a mixed strain containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and MP25T, a THC-dominant strain.
“The company’s next step is to expand its sales team and clinic access, increasing from the retail profit margins, alongside its distribution channels,” MGC said.
“The granting of the import licence in Australia is very significant for our Australian operations; with the logistics savings, we are able to become more cost-effective and are also able to expand our product offering to our Australian customers,” Mr Zomer said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all businesses in all industries, although the extent has been rather different. Whereas some companies have struggled to maintain cashflow and commercial viability, several others have benefitted from the shifts in consumer demand.
For MGC, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a potential business opportunity in the form of a Phase 2 trial into the efficacy of its ArtemiC anti-inflammatory medicated spray on the COVID-19 virus.
MGC is currently in the process of recruiting patients in Aurangabad, India this month for the double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the spray.
The company said expanding the trial to include India will generate wider statistical data that can be used to apply for marketing authorisation and product registration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency.