Tasmanian Alkaloids is moving into the medical cannabis space after signing a partnership with AusCann to grow the crop for chronic pain medications.
Already one of the world’s largest producers of alkaloid raw material for pain relief, Tasmanian Alkaloids sees this partnership as complementary to its current operations, chief executive Doug Blackaby said.
Tasmanian Alkaloids cultivates and harvests poppies sourced from growers throughout the state to extract thebaine, codeine and oripavine for use in pain relief medications.
“We are partnering with AusCann, who will provide technical and market access, and we will bring research and development, manufacturing and formulation,” Mr Blackaby said.
Medical cannabis grown by Tasmanian Alkaloids will be used in products to treat the five million Australians living with chronic pain.
“We envisage all growing activities needed will be conducted on site [at Westbury]. We still have exciting plans for our base business and we see this as complementary to that,” Mr Blackaby said.
“The opportunity is large, but the market is small,” he said.
Under the partnership Tasmanian Alkaloids and AusCann will cultivate, manufacture and distribute medicinal cannabis products in Australia and overseas after securing licences to produce medical cannabis in Tasmania.
“We hope to have something readily available in 2-3 years,” Mr Blackaby said.
AusCann managing director Elaine Darby said the partnership with Tasmanian Alkaloids significantly enhanced AusCann’s position in Australia and internationally.
“It is a huge endorsement of cannabinoids going mainstream when the major alkaloid producers are moving into the space,” Ms Darby said.
“It clearly shows the pharmaceutical companies are searching for stable, high quality supply of cannabinoids to complement their opioid product range,” she said.