Medicinal cannabis developer THC Global (ASX: THC) has received the green light to manufacture cannabis at its Southport facility in Australia by the country’s regulator, the Office of Drug Control (ODC).
The highly anticipated approval means that THC will now move to kick-off production of high-grade cannabis and add to the growing supply that is seeking to meet an even steeper rate of mounting demand in Australia and overseas.
Having received the full complement of licences and permits required by regulators over the past couple of years, THC is keen to begin production and step into commercialising cannabis products.
Currently, there are an estimated 250,000 Australian patients keenly awaiting local production sources in order to avoid reliance on high priced imports.
Meanwhile, THC wants to serve up Australian patients with high-quality produce while leaving plenty in reserve in order to capture an even larger global export market.
As things stand, THC is one of only a handful of companies that is both authorised and equipped to produce Goods Manufactured Practice (GMP)-compliant active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) medicinal cannabis on a large scale.
This morning’s news was hailed as a “major milestone” for both THC and the broader Australian cannabis industry by THC’s chief executive officer Ken Charteris.
“Our scale and technology will enable us to offer patients a higher quality, more consistent cannabis medicine at a significantly lower cost than the currently imported products available to Australian patients,” he said.
Furthermore, the manufacturing permit also allows THC Global to accept and process medicinal cannabis plant material from any Australian licenced and permitted cultivator, including from the company’s two cultivation facilities.
On the cusp of production
THC is readying two separate manufacturing hubs – a biopharma production research and development facility in Bundy and a growing facility in Southport in Queensland.
At Southport, THC is on course to produce both packaged and bulk medicinal cannabis with a commercial launch provisioned for early 2020 after the completion of a product validation phase.
The location was at the centre of political attention in August this year after Australia’s Federal Minister for Health, Hon Greg Hunt MP, officially opened one of the largest bio-pharma extraction facilities in the world, capable of producing more than 12 tonnes of API-grade produce ever year, which equates to approximately 120t of premium cannabis oil.
In addition to the latest permit, THC also holds Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 narcotics licences from the Queensland Department of Health authorising the manufacture and wholesale of a range of different drugs including medicinal cannabis.
With a slew of licences now in hand and commercial operations on the cusp of commencing, THC said it is now “fully licenced and permitted” for medicinal cannabis production, and therefore, is likely to generate sales and revenues from the sale of cannabis products to consumers and processing material for other cannabis producers and manufacturers.
“This is a major milestone for us and the Australian medicinal cannabis industry as a whole, with THC now able to operate the largest pharmaceutical bio-floral extraction facility in the southern hemisphere,” said Mr Charteris.