Rua Bioscience’s first cannabis medicine, RUA CBD100, is now available on prescription in New Zealand.
Rua Biosciences evolved from Hikurangi Enterprises, which had the distinction of being the first company to secure a license to cultivate medicinal cannabis in New Zealand. In 2020, the firm was holding one of the first commercial licences in the country for cultivation, possession for manufacturing and supply of pharmaceutical cannabis.
In October last year, Rua Biosciences received GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certification from Medsafe, the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. Then in December, the company received verification that RUA CBD100 met Medsafe’s very strict quality standards.
“It’s incredible to think that we have been able to work through the medical regulatory system and establish the capability we need to manufacture medicine to world-class GMP standards, all from Te Tairāwhiti,” said Rua Biosciences CEO Rob Mitchell.
Te Tairāwhiti is the Māori name describing the Gisborne Region in northeastern New Zealand. Fun fact: it’s one of the first places in the world to see the sunrise each day. Rua has a high-security cultivation site near the town of Ruatorea and a facility in Gisborne with a purpose-built extraction and licensed manufacturing plant.
RUA CBD100 is packaged in a 30 mL bottle containing approximately 3,000 mg of cannabidiol (CBD) and <0.2 mg/mL of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as active ingredients. CBD100 will be distributed nationally via CDC Pharmaceuticals.
Rua notes NZ Government data indicates the number of medicinal cannabis products prescribed and supplied in New Zealand is growing at an average rate of 250 per cent annually.
But as in some other parts of the world (including Australia), these medicines are costly. Recognising this, Rua Bioscences is launching New Zealand’s first compassionate access programme for medicinal cannabis products. Initially, medicines will be available at no cost for a limited group of qualifying patients in Te Tairāwhiti.
“We view this as a meaningful and commercially sustainable way to help some of those most in need access the medicine,” says Chief Commercial Officer Dr Andi Grant.
In other recent medical cannabis news out of New Zealand, we recently reported Puro secured a NZD $13 million government grant to go towards “turbocharging” the country’s local industry.