Tuesday 28th June 2022
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Rua Bioscience Limited (NZX: RUA ) announced today that it has received its narcotic license through Nimbus Health GmbH for the distribution and marketing of its first product for the German medicinal cannabis market – a move understood to make Rua the first medicinal cannabis company from New Zealand to take such a step.
The application to extend the narcotics license of Nimbus Health GmbH (“Nimbus”) to include Rua’s dried flower has been granted by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). Rua signed a commercial agreement with Nimbus Health in July 2020. The approval of the application will enable Nimbus to distribute and market Rua's products in Germany by the end of 2022.
The medicinal cannabis product which is a high THC flower, has been developed through an extensive R&D programme by Cann Group, Rua’s Australian strategic manufacturing, supply and technical services partner.
Linus Weber, Nimbus Founder and Managing Director, says his team is excited with the progress.
“In Germany, medicinal dried-cannabis flower is prescribed mainly for pain patients (70%)(1), and cannabis flowers with a THC content of greater than 20% make up 77% of cannabis flower prescriptions1. At its launch, we believe Rua’s flower will be one of the highest THC dried flower medicines on the market, which will give Rua a significant competitive advantage,” he says. “Through its partnership with Cann Group and with Nimbus as a distribution partner, Rua is well-positioned to provide German patients with sustainable access to its product for many years to come.”
Rua CEO, Rob Mitchell says, “With the European medicinal cannabis market estimated to be worth €2.3b ($3.82b NZD) by 2026(2), Rua understands it must go global to support local, and our export plans, particularly into Germany and wider Europe, are coming to fruition.
“The acquisition of Zalm Therapeutics has enabled us to advance the securing of supply agreements in other emerging, high-growth markets including Czech Republic, Poland and the UK.
“The global commercial opportunities open to Rua are compelling and underpinned by our ability to export high-value medicinal cannabis at scale and pace as a result of the partnership we now have with Cann Group and the scale afforded by their Mildura facility,” he says.
Cann’s new AUD $120m cultivation and processing facility at Mildura is considered one of the largest and most advanced in Australasia. The first stage of its construction is now operational and capable of producing 12,500 kilograms of dried cannabis flower per year. When complete, capacity at the 13.5-hectare facility will grow up to 70,000 kilograms. In a capital-light strategy, Gisborne-based Rua is leveraging this unprecedented scale to punch above its weight and deliver a range of medicinal cannabis products to multiple export markets in record time.
Chief Commercial Officer, Andi Grant, who is leading Rua’s push into Europe says “Each market has a unique regulatory environment, which makes the work complex but with strong short and long-term potential”.
The Czech Republic is one of the most progressive medicinal cannabis markets in Europe. It has seen steady growth over the last five years, largely thanks to a comprehensive public reimbursement programme whereby up to 90% of medical cannabis costs are covered by the Government(2).
The Polish medicinal cannabis market is expected to be worth at least €2b ($3.29b NZD) by 2028(3). In Poland, medicinal cannabis must be imported from foreign producers, which presents significant opportunities for international companies(3).
The UK is one of Europe's most promising markets for medical cannabis in terms of its sheer number of patients. With a regulatory and funding approach very similar to New Zealand’s, the number of privately prescribed medical cannabis items dispensed in 2021 increased by 425% on 2020(2). Experts estimate the existing 15,000 patients in the UK could conservatively reach 650,000 patients in the next seven years, amounting to an anticipated gross market size of around $1b USD(2) ($1.5b NZD).
Rua will announce further expansion plans later in the year as the company finalises distribution agreements across Europe.
“While the company looks to global markets, it remains committed to patients in New Zealand and developing products for the New Zealand market.
“The kaupapa to give back to the community will always be in our DNA and entering global markets will secure meaningful revenue so we can continue prioritising sustainable economic development in the Ruatorea and East Coast communities,” says Grant.
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