Medicinal cannabis developer THC Global (ASX: THC) has updated the market with news that it has received an expanded commercial cultivation permit from the Australian Office of Drug Control (ODC).
THC is the first ASX-listed company to fully own and operate commercial medicinal cannabis production facilities under Australia’s cannabis regulations.
The updated permit means THC can produce and supply medicinal cannabis medicines to around 6,000 Australian patients with overarching goals of lowering prices and raising product quality.
THC has already received a manufacturing permit for medicinal cannabis, combined with a pharmaceutical GMP licence, allowing the supply of medicinal cannabis medicines to Australian and international patients from its Southport manufacturing facility in Queensland.
As a country, Australia has taken a softer stance towards cannabis in recent years with medicinal cannabis becoming a fully legal treatment option for sufferers of various diseases that are not affected by existing treatment options.
According to the Australian Minister for Health Greg Hunt, medicinal cannabis is being made available to Australian patients as a first priority and as a pre-condition of new export licences issued to cannabis producers.
THC will begin export-focused production once adequate supply to Australian patients has been assured.
According to THC, it will exercise its new expanded cultivation permit for its Bundaberg cultivation facility but will also tap into other associated research permits and licence amendments, to support an initial 3,000 patients with Australian-made medicinal cannabis.
Moreover, THC said it is finalising the import of crude cannabis extract for medicine production and confirmed it is finalising contract negotiations for cannabis supply from additional licenced and permitted cannabis cultivators.
The added supply, or “biomass”, will be directed towards supporting a further 3,000 patients across Australia.
“We are committed to bringing lower costs and higher quality to Australian patients. Our complete control of cannabis biomass, manufacturing, supply, and support will help achieve this,” THC’s chief executive officer Ken Charteris said.
“We expect to supply at least an initial 6,000 patients using Canndeo medicinal cannabis on an ongoing basis commencing from Q2 2020. Further Australian patients and global exports will follow,” he said.
THC has previously revealed its plans to supply medicinal cannabis under the Canndeo brand, supplying pharmacies, clinics and hospitals directly while meeting the requirements set by Australian Narcotic Drugs Act and Regulations.
According to THC, it established its CanndeoCare range to support doctors and health care professionals with the ultimate aim of providing information on prescribing as permitted by the Therapeutic Goods Act from a team of qualified healthcare professionals focused on supporting responsible and legal prescribing of medicinal cannabis.
Outside of manufacturing and supplying consumers and health care professionals, THC also plans to supply its cannabis medicines to researchers conducting studies and trials into cannabis. A commercial cultivation permit, manufacturing permit and pharmaceutical GMP licence are “prerequisites” for Australian cannabis medicines to have valid data generation in studies and clinical trials.
As things stand, THC anticipates commencing trials sometime between June and September this year, with first trials focusing on Australian patient groups with high CBD dosage requirements.
In addition to receiving its updated licence, THC recently published a preliminary final report on last year’s performance.
THC reported annual revenues rose 80% to $4.8 million while its gross profit rose from $760,000 to $1.1 million last year with the results being attributed to a broadening product offering and expansion within the Canadian market.
For the period, THC revealed a total loss for the year of almost $11.6 million compared to $1.7 million profit in 2018.