Medibis raises funds for research and cultivation facility, sets eyes on huge medicinal cannabis market

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Medibis partnership with Israel-based cannabis company is the first step towards launching a cannabis product in Australia, and building its cultivation facility in Toowoomba.

Homegrown medicinal cannabis company, Medibis, is about to launch a range of cannabis medicines on the Australian market, following its efforts to raise funds via the crowd funding platform, Birchal.  The company is also set to embark on research into cannabinoid-based medicines and says it’s excited about the prospect of discovering new treatments.

Medibis has also announced long-term plans to build a medicinal cannabis facility in Toowoomba, Queensland, as it sets eyes on the lucrative multi-billion dollar medicinal cannabis industry.

Stockhead caught up with founder and CEO of Medibis, Angus Chapel, who said that Toowoomba is perfect for growing cannabis plants as it sits 700 metres above sea level, and offers Queensland sunshine without the humidity that normally comes with it.

Growing up in nearby Brisbane, Chapel told Stockhead about the rich agricultural history in Toowoomba, where a big farming community and support for large agricultural projects exist.

Interestingly, prior to founding Medibis, Chapel spent years within the mining industry but found that it was restricting his entrepreneurial spirit.

“I wanted something that was meaningful where I can get satisfaction from. With cannabis, I found after researching there are opportunities that science was uncovering and enabling to improve people’s quality of life,” Chapel told Stockhead.

 

Medibis’ Towoomba’s facility

The second phase of the company’s growth plans is a state-of-the-art production facility in Towoomba.  Development is expected to be executed across 6 stages with Stage 1 estimated to cost around $25 million to build.  The full-scale development is estimated at around $180 million, bringing production capacity of above 80T per annum.

“We will look to bring the facility online towards the end of next year, once we’ve  established our brand in the market and got some revenue streams,” Chapel said.

Once completed, the facility will not only be able to offer world-class cultivation, but also a pharmaceutical research facility to develop cannabis-based medicines to treat conditions such as seizures, epilepsy, and depression.

But Chapel acknowledges that it will take time to secure the necessary funding and develop these plans, and has formulated quicker strategies as a path to market launch.

“Right now, the first stage is to import products from Israel. There’s a lot of compelling scientific data around cannabinoid science coming out of Israel, and we have also found an Israeli partner which is going to produce the medicines for us under our label,” Chapel said.

Medibis has recently secured a partnership with Israel’s renowned cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical company, BOL Pharma.

The two companies are collaborating to make BOL Pharma’s THC/CBD medicine available to Australian patients.

“Our Israel partner has a well-established GMP facility, which will give us the ability to develop the downstream pathways and further our networks of GPs here in Australia.”

Once BOL Pharma has taken the necessary steps to initiate research activities in Australia, the two companies will begin to conduct proof of concept and Phase II trials here in the country.

Ultimately, Medibis aims to launch products which have formulations that include CBD oil, THC oil, and raw cannabis flower, to treat multiple conditions for Australian patients.

“One of the interesting ones is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) treatment which can also be used for epilepsy, and that was discovered through trials with epileptic patients in Israel,” Chapel said.

Chapel said the study discovered that 30% of autistic kids also have epilepsy, and while they were trying to treat the epilepsy, researchers noticed a big improvement in ASD symptoms as well.

The full complement of products that Medibis will launch includes treatments for chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer-related illnesses, just to mention a few.

 

Australia as the gold standard

The rapid development in the global cannabis market has pushed the industry into a “greenhouse arms race” to see who can achieve the greatest growing capacity.

In light of this,  other experts have pointed out that Australia could play a critical part as a major cannabis supplier to the world, given that we have one of the most stringent pharmaceutical standards in the world under the direction of the TGA.

Chapel agrees, saying that Australia has been developing plant genetics alongside the best in the world, and that our plants are comparable with those places that also have a good climate for growing.

“In addition, the TGA has one of the highest standards in the world, and combined with our scientific prowess as a nation, it puts Australia in a prime position to compete in quality and scale,” Chapel explained.

He’s also keeping an eye on the development in other countries, especially on the regulatory front.

He believes that Australia will adopt the US model where cannabis is legalised state by state.

Medibis is currently going through the process of registering the Israeli product under its own brand with the TGA, with national distribution arrangements already in place.

 

Huge potential market

Owing to the recent legalisations in different countries, the use of medical cannabis is gaining serious momentum worldwide.

According to the latest research, the global medical cannabis market is growing at 25 per cent per year, and is expected to reach US$104 billion by 2028.

Medibis is eying the German market, where it looks to export once it’s in full production.

But although Europe and the US are set to dominate the market in the initial years, Chapel believes that Asia could be the next frontier.

“We’ve been following what’s happening in Thailand, where previously they had a very staunch stance on it. We’ve seen similar changes in government stance throughout Asian countries like China and Japan as well, so there’s definitely some big opportunities there, especially around Australian quality brands and standards,” Chapel said.

Medibis is currently raising around $1.6 million on the Birchal platform, and believes that investors would be rewarded as the industry undergoes massive and rapid changes.

Chapel said it’s an exciting time to invest in cannabis, as many countries in North America, Europe and also Israel are getting heavily involved in research, and trying to understand the intricate science behind cannabinoid-based medicines, with new treatments being discovered every week.

Medibis’ technical director Andrew Calvert agrees, adding that investors in Medibis would be part of a bigger story.

“A lot of our potential investors have friends who have been treated with cannabis-based medicine, so this is an opportunity to be a positive part of our story of having that direct personal experience from our investor base.”

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