Medical cannabis prescription network provider Montu has announced a second capital raise to fund the next phase of growth for the company’s alternaleafTM telehealth platform.
The company has returned to crowdfunding platform Birchal to undertake this latest campaign following a marquee $2 million funding round last year.
Proceeds are expected to boost the company’s position through further investment in its technological infrastructure and by increasing patient awareness.
Montu’s alternaleafTM telehealth platform is described as an “integrated cannabis ecosystem” that connects more than 15,000 Australian patients each year nationwide to highly qualified doctors equipped to prescribe medical cannabis.
Game changing healthcare technology
Telehealth services have been a game changer since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of increasing accessibility to professional healthcare advice and medication.
In parallel to Australia’s rapid adoption of the technology, there has been a notable increase in doctor confidence in prescribing medical cannabis, along with improvements in prescription regulations.
As a result, Montu has reported a tenfold increase in medical cannabis prescriptions in the last 12 months, with revenue growing by 1,000% to reach a run rate of $10 million.
“Prior to telehealth, our company was already a pioneer in helping patients gain easy access via a nationwide network of doctors that could service half a million Australians. With telehealth – we can now service every Australian,” Montu managing director Christopher Strauch said.
He noted the difficulty patients had previously experienced when attempting to speak to a doctor about medical cannabis due to its negative stigma and many doctors’ limited experience.
“We have trained over 1,000 Australian doctors on medical cannabis and provided them with education and support. This has seen doctors become more confident prescribers.”
Montu manages the medical cannabis supply chain vertically from doctor education, clinical care, product supply and distribution, to dispensing of medication.
Revenue climbs as COVID-19 accelerates adoption of telehealth services
Last year’s initial raise made Montu the fastest company in Australia to raise $2 million, and attracting more than 1,000 investors.
The company has achieved significant growth in the last year, reaching a $10 million revenue run rate and turning the business profitable.
Based on assumptions made of its existing network of highly qualified prescribing doctors, Montu has forecast a $51 million run rate for 2022 and up to $139 million for 2023.
“Our company’s trajectory for growth is massive, with revenues growing more than 250% last quarter alone,” Mr Strauch said.
He noted the company’s “highly scalable business model” and said Montu is “just scratching the surface” with more than 15,000 patient consultations a year and over 50,000 units of medical cannabis prescribed annually.
Proceeds from Montu’s latest funding round is expected to help solidify the company’s leading position in the Australian and New Zealand medical cannabis market, which is forecasted to be worth $1.7 billion by 2023. Funds will go towards its technological infrastructure and growing patient awareness, it said.
The company said it also plans to pursue an ASX listing by late 2022.
Regulatory changes in Australia
Montu’s significant growth in the last year has been bolstered by considerable changes in Australia’s regulation of medical cannabis access.
Since early 2021, certain cannabidiol (CBD) products are now permitted to be sold over the counter at pharmacies (although products must still undergo requisite clinical trials before becoming available).
In addition, Special Access Scheme approvals for specific prescription medications have been extended from one to two years.
In July, the Therapeutic Goods Administration changed the requirements for authorised prescribers’ applications to now allow approvals for medical cannabis products on a schedule basis rather than on a product level.
In the same month, Tasmania also joined other Australian states by no longer restricting medical cannabis prescribing to specialists, thus improving access to patients in the state.