Australia’s Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, opened (another) medical cannabis facility in Queensland last week.
The THC Global (ASX:THC) project in Southport is the largest bio-pharma manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere according to the company, and has an expected capacity of 12,000 kg of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) extracts per year. Pending securing of required approvals, THC Global expects to further process these extracts into finished medicines including oils and capsules.
In July this year subsidiary THC Pharma Pty Ltd was awarded a Manufacture Licence from the Australian Office of Drug Control in relation to the Southport facility.
Commercial production is expected to commence early next year.
Minister Hunt, who also toured the facility, said its opening demonstrated the Morrison Government’s commitment to not only boosting the local industry, but also helping Australians living with chronic or terminal illnesses. However, some would argue that much more needs to be done in terms of the regulatory red tape Australian patients and doctors face in accessing medicinal cannabis.
Federal Member for Moncrieff Angie Bell also attended the official opening along with Rob Molhoek MP, the Queensland State Member for Southport..
“This facility will build our local industry, meet domestic and international demand, and create economic growth and jobs,” said Ms. Bell.
Aside from producing medicines for the Australian and overseas market, the facility will also play a role in local research.
“We also expect to support clinical trials and study trials in Australia, which are currently almost exclusively serviced by expensive imported products,” said THC Global Chairman Steven Xu.
The company says its low cost production capability will enable cheaper supply to Australian patients than current imported products, increasing patient accessibility.
Also last week, Minister Hunt officially opened a medical cannabis farm on the Sunshine Coast. The Medifarm facility aims to produce 7 tonnes of plant material annually.
Australia’s Morrison Government notes more than 8,500 patients have been authorised to access a medicinal cannabis product nationally, with approximately one-third of these approvals granted for patients in Queensland. The state is home to around 20% of Australia’s population.