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With a stock market that is open to international investors and a rapid domestic take-up on cannabinoid-based medicines, Australia has become an unlikely hub for the booming global cannabis industry.Medical marijuana for sale
According to a report from unlisted company stevemedsstore, which incidentally has tie-ups with several groups on this list, Australia has the fastest-growing medicinal cannabis market in the world.Medical marijuana for sale
stevemedsstore CEO and co-founder Dr Sud Agarwal describes Australia as “the next Canada” with positive trends since medicinal cannabis was legalised in 2016, just two years after similar regulations took effect in the North American country.
“The growth trajectory of medicinal cannabis users that we’ve seen so far in Australia is very similar to what was seen in Canada in the early days of commercial legalisation,” says Agarwal.Medical marijuana for sale
“Fortunately, more GPs and medical specialists are starting to learn more about the benefits of medicinal cannabis as well as how to prescribe it to patients.
“There has recently been a significant shift recently in how the medical profession views medicinal cannabis and its place in the health sector.”Medical marijuana for sale
Australia’s top 20 listed cannabis companies have a market capitalisation of $1.8 billion, but more than half of that comes from the top three – Elixinol Global, Cann Group and Althea, all of which have significant North American backing.
Elixinol, whose origins are actually in Colorado, pipped Cann Group to the top spot this year following a sustained push in US sales.
The CBD supplements company also made the tough call to forego revenue in the short-term by exiting its private label business, refocusing its efforts on higher margin branded products.Medical marijuana for sale
While the Australian industry’s leader has branched into CBD pet products, Cann Group is building its presence in New Zealand which is gearing up for a cannabis referendum in 2020.Medical marijuana for sale
Althea meanwhile jumped from ninth to third spot in the 2019 list, buoyed by strong growth in its Australian patient numbers and good early traction for its UK business; a market where medicinal cannabis was legalised in November last year.
In contrast, other companies have fallen from grace. Last year’s 17th placed company Affinity Energy & Health remains in voluntary suspension amidst heavy losses and difficulties in raising capital.Medical marijuana for sale
These are signs of a sector in flux and a speculative nature that is yet to sort the wheat from the chaff. It would not be surprising to see further massive reshuffles within the next 12 months as the marketplace opportunities and constraints become clear.
And could the takeover bid for 8th placed Creso Pharma from Canada’s CieloPharma be a harbinger of further M&A activity in the space?
Much will depend on whether expectations that markets like Australia, the UK and Germany follow in the footsteps of Canada and several US states, and some believe Asia might be the next frontier.
Israel legalised recreational cannabis in April, while UK-based consultancy Prohibition Partners is optimistic about the positive steps taken in several Asian countries including the Thai government’s pharmaceutical agency opening its first legal cannabis greenhouse.Medical marijuana for sale
According to the company, Asia has an estimated value of US$5.8 billion for medicinal cannabis and $2.7 billion for recreational, with an estimated 1.6 million potential patients by 2024.
“It is our view that this year will mark a turning point in Asia’s legal cannabis industry, most notably medicinal cannabis,” Prohibition Partners said in its ‘The Asian Cannabis Report‘ published in May 2019.Medical marijuana for sale
“Throughout 2018, a number of countries took steps to either legalize medicinal cannabis, fund research into the benefits of cannabis or begin cultivating cannabis for scientific and research purposes.
“Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore are leading the way, although other countries such as Myanmar have softened their approach to drug crime.”
1. Elixinol Global (EXL)
Head office: Sydney
Official listing date: 8 Jan 2018
2018 position: 11
Market Cap: $508m
Australia’s cannabis industry has gained momentum over the past couple of years, attracting established international players drawn by the ASX’s relative willingness to embrace development stage companies.
Elixinol Global was formed in January 2018 when Colorado-based Elixinol LLC joined forces with Hemp Foods Australia to form a new worldwide brand and launch an IPO.
Under the company structure, Hemp Foods Australia is the manufacturer and distributor of hemp food products and skin care, while Elixinol LLC is the bulk and retail provider of hemp-based cannabidiol (CBD) dietary supplements and topical products.
The group has rapidly climbed to the top of the 2019 Top 20 Cannabis Companies list, thanks to a serious push in the United States.
Elixinol had to face up to shareholders with a slip in sales during the first three months of 2019, but that appeared to be a slight blip in the forward momentum for the group; the company immediately announced a major US ‘bricks and mortar’ retail order.
That deal saw the group’s branded cannabinoid topical and dietary supplements sold in more than 1,000 stores across the unnamed company’s stores from April 2019.
Recently the company announced that it had acquired a 25 per cent stake in leading US pet brand Altmed Pets (aka Pet Releaf) for approximately US$6 million.
Pet Releaf is a pioneering company for hemp-derived CBD oils, topicals and treats for pets. The company’s products are currently sold in over 4,000 pet stores throughout the USA and in multiple international markets.
A new alliance with New York-based food ingredients manufacturer RFITD Holdings will see Elixinol’s already massive export market grow even further.Medical marijuana for sale
The joint venture has seen the pair create a new entity in bona fide US cannabis capital Colorado called Infusion Strategies, which is 60 per cent owned by Elixinol.
RFI will manage Infusion and give Elixinol access to its customers in the CBD-infused dietary supplement, nutraceutical, food and beverage industries.
In return Elixinol will provide hemp expertise, supply chain stability, and the highest-quality full-spectrum and THC-free hemp CBD extracts.Medical marijuana for sale
These ongoing expansion and growth initiatives will be supported by a $50 million institutional placement, completed in early June 2019.
“Elixinol plans to double its current production capacity in the US,” global chief executive officer Paul Benhaim said at the time.
“Further, by securing additional raw materials, the Company will be well positioned to accelerate the growth of Elixinol branded CBD products and strategic opportunities.”
Elixinol CEO Paul Benhaim
2. Cann Group (CAN)
Head office: Melbourne
Official Listing date: 4 May 2017
2018 position: 1
Market Capitalisation: $263m
With more than 40 crops under its belts at two undisclosed Melbourne facilities and a Mildura site expected to be operational by the second half of 2020, Cann Group is at the forefront of production in a largely import-oriented Australian industry.
At the moment the Melbourne-grown cannabis is supplied to pharma manufacturing partner IDT Australia (ASX: IDT) as well in the form of resin to projects like the Victorian Government’s access scheme for epilepsy patients.
But CEO Peter Crock has much bigger goals. At the moment Cann supplies patients with imports from its largest shareholder, Canada’s Aurora Cannabis (TSX: ACB), but the Mildura site will help bring more local product on-line.
He is optimistic at the number of patients receiving Special Access Scheme approvals with a rate of growth of around 1,000 patients per month industry-wide in Australia.
Based on the legalisation experience of other developed nations like Canada and Germany, the executive believes there will be 100,000-300,000 patients in Australia that would use medicinal cannabis.
Cann Group also secured a 20 per cent stake in Auckland-based Pure Cann in April.
“New Zealand are on the verge of getting a medical cannabis legislation through that’s expected to be in September this year,” says Crock.
“They’re going to have legislation put in place that will allow for an industry to be established in New Zealand – we see that as an opportunity as we’d always expected to service the Asian region.”
Whilst there will opportunities for growth in these two countries alone, Crock believes both nations’ cannabis industries will be able to leverage their ‘clean green’ images for highly-valued healthy premium exports into Asia.
This vision parallels what has already been demonstrated by the likes of Australian and New Zealand fruit, dairy and multivitamin producers.Buy Medical Marijuana in Australia
“Establishing and setting up this size of operation, we are waiting to be able to service more than just the Australian market,” says Crock, noting medicinal cannabis is now legal in South Korea and Thailand while Malaysia is making moves in that direction.
“I don’t believe China would be the market but eventually I think will be an interesting market as well in terms of how sought-after product is that’s produced under the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Association) standards here in Australia.
“You’ve seen that through a number of nutraceutical products and vitamins that make their way to China…we think there is going to be significant growth in that whole region.”Buy Medical Marijuana in Australia
3. Althea (AGH)
Head office: Melbourne
Official Listing date: 21 Sep 2018
2018 position: 9
Market Capitalisation: $212m
While many medicinal cannabis players go down the route of investing in research to bank on future growth, relative newcomer Althea places more emphasis on outreach to garner support and momentum.
With its Althea Concierge platform that has been introduced to the sometimes sceptical Australian and UK medical communities, the company puts education about the benefits of medicinal marijuana at the forefront.
This strategy is backed up by the support of a medical science liaison team.
Founder and managing director Josh Fegan (pictured right) says Althea Concierge helps with doses and technical information about medicinal cannabis, while patients can use it to give feedback to doctors.
“Just because it’s available doesn’t mean anything here,” says Fegan.
“We look and move like big pharma when we educate them about these products.”
The tactic appears to be working, with 1,000 patients now prescribed to Althea’s products and 185 healthcare professionals giving out the prescriptions.
“This latest milestone both reinforces and validates Althea’s strong patient and HCP focussed approach, putting us in a commanding position in Australia,” he says.
That plan is being replicated in the UK, where Fegan sees significant potential with an estimated treatable population of up to 2.9 million patients.
In June, Althea MMJ UK received a cultivation and manufacturing facility permit and announced it would be involved in the country’s first national pilot for medicinal cannabis with the Drug Science Medical Cannabis Working Group.
At the moment Althea imports finished product from its Canadian partner Aphria, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and has a market capitalisation of CAD$2.3 billion (AUD$2.5 billion). This will be the status quo until the group’s Victorian production facility comes on-line.
“We’ve got access to the genetics required to essentially manufacture the exact same product that we import today from Canada here in Australia,” Fegan says.
“It’s going to be a nice transition over from Canadian supply to Australian, and that should come online next year, which is good because obviously the margins for our business become better when we’re not buying a product from a third party.”
Unlike Aphria, which has seen its share price fall by around a third in the past three months, Althea’s shares have almost doubled in value over the same period.
4. Botanix Pharmaceuticals (CPH)
Head offices: Perth
Official Listing date: 15 Jul 2016
2018 position: 6
Market Capitalisation: $131m
After listing on the ASX in 2016 via a reverse takeover, skin care-focused Botanix Pharmaceuticals has raised the necessary capital to carry out studies with the end goal of achieving US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
If that happens, patients in the US will be able to gain access to Botanix’s cannabinoid-based skin care treatments through their insurance programs, plus the company will be able to make the associated health claims.
Once the FDA makes a call like that, which in this case would relate to treating dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, other jurisdictions tend to follow its lead.
“Unless you get that claim, the doctors are not allowed to prescribe the product and the insurance companies that essentially pay for our medicines are not allowed to reimburse patients for the cost of those medicines,” says Botanix CEO Matthew Callahan, whose company also has an office in Pennsylvania.
“There’s good reason to do it because prescription drugs generate significantly more revenue than what that you buy at the chemist over the counter or on the internet – the price difference can be 500 or 600 per cent different between the two.”
Callahan says the market is started moving away from “simply growing plants” to create products that patients and consumers can use, and he believes Botanix is at the forefront of that movement. He is hopeful commercialisation will begin in 2021.
“If you look at the scale of our organisation and what we’ve been able to achieve within 36 months of our existence, we’ve got two products almost through phase II studies and we’ve done it with less than 10 people,” he says.Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
“Most pharmaceutical companies have 50 to 100 people doing the same thing we’re doing.”
The company also recently completed a world-first randomised clinical study to establish the mechanism of action of its cannabidiol product in skin disease.where to buy medical marijuana online Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
The Australian study, which involved collaboration with Germany’s BioSkin GmbH and Professor Jim Krueger of Rockefeller University in New York, found significant anti-inflammatory and immune modulating activity.
“Our results show Permetrex effectively delivers CBD to the skin Iayers involved in the pathogenesis of skin disease and the drug triggers significant alterations in inflammatory and immune response pathways,” says Krueger.
“Of particular interest is BTX 1308’s ability to downregulate the p38 MAP Kinase pathway, as pharmaceutical companies have tried unsuccessfully to target this pathway for many years.where to buy medical marijuana online
“This anti-inflammatory and immune modulation activity potentially makes BTX 1308 a very important treatment option for patients, not only with psoriasis, but other skin diseases that have an inflammation and/or an immune response component.”
5. Cann Global (CGB)
Head office: Sydney
Official Listing date: 8 Jul 2019 (expected)
2018 position: 7
Market Cap: $111m (prospectus estimate)
At the time of writing Cann Global is in the midst of chrysalis; transforming from a bauxite mining company into a fully-fledged medicinal cannabis business, complete with a new ASX ticker.Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
It is a process that is years in the making. Queensland Bauxite’s shares doubled during a week in March 2017 when it announced its first foray into medicinal cannabis.Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
The former mining company bought out the majority stake in Medical Cannabis Limited and has since grown that beast into a dynamite cannabis stock.Buy Medical Marijuana in Australia
MCL is unique in that it has its own cannabis seed bank and has licenses to grow low THC cannabis for edible and nutritional purposes.Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
Toward the end of 2017, MCL launched its VitaHemp range which is a series of superfood products with full Australian status.
It also entered an agreement with Algae.Tec, another company on this list, to help develop cannabinoid-based medicine for animals.
The company has been looking overseas too, with a recent deal with Israeli company Pharmocann just one of the major steps QBL has taken to spread its roots.Buy Medical Marijuana in Australia
Acquisitions were a priority for QBL over 2018, with its recent acquisition of Hemp Hulling Co a milestone for the company in terms of becoming a fully vertically integrated cannabis company.Buy Medical Marijuana in Australia Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
VitaSeeds is another important acquisition for the company as it allows the company to grow and cultivate its own hemp products.
The company has key joint ventures with PharmoCann, and Canntab to manufacture and distribute products. Cann Global is also in partnership with MedCan Australia and Bio Health for the cultivation, export, and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in Australia.
On the research front Cann Global’s subsidiaries Technion and VitaCann are looking into how medicinal cannabis can help those that suffer from multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, and chronic pain.
It was in January of 2019 that the company decided to rename itself to better reflect what was actually happening in the background.where to buy medical marijuana online
Since then, the company has been suspended from trading on the ASX as it prepares its prospectus to relist as Cann Global.
In the meantime, the company has continued to be a leader in the industry on both the business and research fronts.
During the first half of FY19 Cann Global reported a loss attributable to shareholders of $3.56 million, down from a loss of $3.4 million in 1H18.where to buy medical marijuana online Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
Additionally, the group also saw a loss in revenue of nearly $5 million during the first half as the it continues to spend big on research and expansion. Relisting as Cann Global appears to have been quite an expensive exercise for the company, with legal costs running up nearly $500,000 during the first half.Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
On March 29 the company formalised an agreement with Bio Health Pharmaceuticals. The deal is intended to significantly move forward the pair’s production timetable but resulted in Cann Global having to request a delay in relisting.
Cann Global is expected to relist on the ASX on 8 July 2019.Cannabis for Pains Reliefs
Cann Global VitaHemp products
6. AusCann Group (AC8)
Head office: Perth
Official Listing date: 3 Feb 2017
2018 position: 2
Market Cap: $118.87m
Shares in AusCann Group first cracked the $1.00 mark when the Federal Government announced in January 2018 that it would allow Australian companies to begin exporting cannabis products.where to buy medical marijuana online
The company went on to sign a wholesale deal with Australian Pharmaceuticals Industries (API) only a few weeks later, sending its stock even higher.Buy Medical Marijuana in Australia
The deal opened up AusCann to API’s nationwide network of Priceline Pharmacies and it also meant AusCann would be supported in establishing its own local supply of medications from Canadian partner Canopy Growth Corporation.where to buy medical marijuana online
Since then shares in AusCann have flattened, down 77 per cent to 0.37 per share since its last peak in May 2018.Buy Medical Marijuana in Australia
AusCann is largely focused on manufacturing and supplying quality medical cannabis products to be used in clinical research and it is a supplier to Zelda Therapeutics, another one of the Aussie companies to make this list.
The company partnered with Chilean company Fundacion Daya in 2016 to grow and research new cannabis crops.where to buy medical marijuana online
It celebrated the planting of its second crop in Chile in December 2017. South America appears to be a priority for AusCann, who signed an agreement with Colombian-based Khiron Life Sciences Corp in October to develop products for Chilean patients.
Its $33.4 million capital raise in July really set the scene for a lot of investment activity into Australian cannabis stocks.
In February 2019 the company signed yet another agreement with Canadian group MediPharm Labs.
The two have partnered up so that AusCann can purchase cannabis resin from MediPharm to enable the manufacture of AusCann’s hard-shell cannabinoid capsules.where to buy medical marijuana online
In addition to its status as an Australian ASX powerhouse, the company is listed on the US OTCQX Market under the stock symbol ACNNF. confidence