After several years of planning and navigating an exhaustive path of obtaining regulatory approvals, medicinal cannabis developer THC Global (ASX: THC) has finally completed its first round of “farm-to-pharma” cannabis processing.
The company has commenced operations at its Southport manufacturing facility in Queensland, considered to be the largest pharmaceutical bio-floral extraction facility in the southern hemisphere. With this milestone achieved, THC intends to move into commercial-scale production early next year.
A further boost for its production intentions came in the form of an import and export licence grant from the Australian Office and Drug Control (ODC) just yesterday. The development enables THC to import cannabis for processing at Southport and as well as the ability to export medicinal cannabis.
THC has setup two distinctive operations in Queensland, with its Bundy facility built to cultivate cannabis plant material, while at Southport, it will produce a final bottled and packaged product.
By covering all aspects of the cultivation and production process, THC said it has validated its farm-to-pharma operation capability and laid a path for significant upscale next year.
The company’s Canndeo brand will be leveraged on a global basis to market its Australian-made cannabis-based medicines and THC also plans to launch a Schedule 4 CBD oral liquid medicine product followed by additional CBD-THC formulated products later in 2020.
“THC Global has ready-to-go production assets within Australia capable of servicing over 250,000 patients in addition to the global export market, making THC Global a leader in the Australian medicinal cannabis industry, and in prime position to be a global exporter of Australian medicinal cannabis medicines,” said Ken Charteris, chief executive officer of THC Global.
“Completing this Australian farm to Australian pharma production process provides clear validation of our capability to both produce our own Canndeo branded medicinal cannabis products, as well as explore partnerships globally both in high value add extraction, and in cultivation using our low-cost Australian cultivation facilities,” he said.
Serving Australian cannabis demand
According to market analysts, there are around 250,000 patients in Australia alone that are awaiting local cannabis producers to supply them with fully legal and regulated products.
There are two primary reasons for the high demand – namely, efficacy and economics.
Scientific research has conclusively proved that medicinal cannabis can have a beneficial impact on a wide range of ailments and diseases but has been banned from being produced and sold by draconian government regulation.
There is a significant amount of pent up demand for high-quality products that have been certified and approved, and also a significant economic rationale for the boost in medicinal cannabis demand.
High-quality cannabis products imported from overseas are expensive with inconsistent supply chains that cannot ensure quantity and quality over time.
Australian producers such as THC have come to the fore after extensive legislative changes were approved by government regulators with medicinal cannabis quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing niche markets in healthcare.
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.
In a statement to the market, THC said its production capacity both in cultivation and in extraction, will allow the company to supply Australian patients with Australian medicinal cannabis products, as well as opening the opportunity for global partnerships for THC Global to provide cultivation and extraction services to other cannabis growers.
“THC Global is well-positioned to significantly benefit from the future of medicinal cannabis in Australia and globally, having secured world-class production facilities enabling the company to explore a stronger focus on the Company’s value-add extraction capabilities at the Southport Facility, in addition to continuing to expand its farm-to-pharma cultivation, processing, and manufacturing capabilities,” the company said.