Two of New Zealand’s medical cannabis heavyweights have joined forces as both prepare to make their mark on local and overseas markets.
Under a five-year multi-million dollar deal, Marlborough-based cultivator Puro will supply more than 10 tonnes of organic medical cannabis to Auckland-based Helius Therapeutics. Claimed to be New Zealand’s largest medical cannabis deal to date, the partnership will also involve the sharing of best practice and R&D for future products.
“It is significant in its size and scale, and in what it signals for the future,” said Puro Managing Director Tim Aldridge. “It’s the start of a long-term commercial partnership between Helius and Puro, where we’ll work together to develop the local industry, establishing pathways for an exciting new export industry for New Zealand.”
Helius achieving GMP status combined with Puro’s recently gained organic status for its outdoor-grown crops make for a powerful combination both for the local market and those abroad. Puro expects exports of New Zealand’s first shipment this year, while Helius will unveil its export strategy in the months ahead.
Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics Carmen Doran says the global medicinal cannabis market is expected to grow to over NZ$60 billion by 2025 – and both companies are keen to secure a decent slice of that action. But there are also significant opportunities closer to home for New Zealand-grown, manufactured, and branded medicines. The country’s medical cannabis companies have enjoyed significant support from Kiwis, with many keen to have access to local products.
December marked three years since NZ’s Parliament unanimously passed legislation enabling a New Zealand medicinal cannabis industry. It’s been a long, hard and often frustrating road since then for all stakeholders, but Helius notes the industry is now in the most important phase – delivery.
Helius is already working with Puro’s medicinal cannabis at its East Auckland extraction facility, and more is to be supplied after Puro’s March harvest. Puro’s harvest last year from its site at Kēkerengū on the Kaikōura coast of NZ’s South Island was claimed to be the largest New Zealand had seen. Whether this year’s will be larger remains to be seen.