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A medicinal cannabis treatment will be available to Australian epilepsy patients in early 2018 under a deal between cannabis developer MGC Pharma and specialist drug distributor HL Pharma.

Starting with adult epilepsy, MGC Pharma’s (ASX:MXC) orally-administered CannEpil treatment will be available to Australian patients with an authorised doctors prescription for less than $800 — significantly lower than competing products in the market.

HL Pharma will manage approvals and distribution to hospitals and pharmacies across Australia.

The move has been backed by Australia’s leading provider of epilepsy services, Epilepsy Action Australia (EEA), and an initial group of five doctors with a starting pool of more than 50 patients.

“This is a great step forward,” said EEA chief executive Carol Ireland. “There is significant potential for cannabinoid therapies as a treatment option for people with epilepsy and many other conditions.”

MXC shares have jumped sharply this month. Source: Investing.com
MXC shares have jumped sharply this month. Source: Investing.com

The deal will add $1 million revenue next year alone from this small starting pool of patients.  A 10 per cent share of the potential market of 70,000 Australian patients would deliver $70 million in annual turnover.

MXC shares doubled two weeks ago after the cannabis producer announced a $40 million deal to supply 15,000kg a month of cannabidiol cosmetic products to Korean cosmetics manufacturer Varm Cosmo.

That made MXC the highest-earning Australian cannabis company so far.

MXC shares were trading at 7c on Wednesday, giving the company a market cap of $76.7 million. It has more than $9 million in the bank.

Production of the first batch of CannEpil to fulfil the initial order of 170 bottles was underway at MGC’s Czech Republic headquarters, said co-founder and chief executive Roby Zomer.

“The first products will ship within about four months,” Mr Zomer said.

Up to 25,000 Australians are diagnosed with epilepsy each year and some 240,000 are living with epilepsy, according to Epilepsy Action Australia.

MXC’s CannEpil product is targeted at drug-resistant epilepsy — also known as refractory epilepsy — which accounts for some 30 per cent of all epilepsy cases.

“This agreement is pivotal for MGC Pharmaceuticals,” Mr Zomer said.

“It sets in place the timeline for bringing our first medical cannabis products to Australian patients and sees us commencing sales in the Australian market.”

An earlier agreement with European pharma Lenis will distribute CannEpil through central and eastern Europe — as well as an anti-inflammatory topical cream — following EU registration.

MXC’s pharmaceutical arm operates alongside its medical cannabis cultivation and cosmetic pursuits – centred around a flagship 1100 sq m glass house facility in the Czech Republic and an open field farm in Slovenia.

In early October, MXC harvested a yield of 4000kg of cannabis to produce cannabinoids for their nutrient and cosmetic products.

 

This special report is brought to you by MGC Pharma.

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