Shared from the Fri 17 Nov, 2017 - Sydney Morning Herald Digital Edition

‘Capture the good and leave everything bad behind’

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Creso Pharma says its products for companion animals are aimed at promoting animal wellbeing by supporting immune and natural defence systems.

In Switzerland this week, Creso Pharma launched anibidiol 1.25 and anibidiol 2.5 – proprietary-formulated hemp-based complementary feed products for companion animals. Anibidiol for companion animals was approved in Switzerland this year.

The products are aimed at promoting animal well-being by supporting immune and natural defence systems, as well as contributing to the balanced behaviour of the pet.

One of the main targets is pets suffering from age-related disorders.

In Australia, medicinal cannabis was legalised by the federal government in February 2016, but the growth of a local industry to supply patients has been slowed by the addition of further regulatory actions by the states.

Undaunted, Creso Pharma and LGC Capital, the Toronto-listed investment vehicle of mining investor David Lenigas, have set out to create what they call ‘‘a strategic alliance intended to create a vertically integrated cannabis company with a global footprint spanning cultivation, IP generation and commercially viable innovative products’’.

The partners are targeting the growing demand for therapeutics, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and lifestyle products derived from cannabis and hemp.

David Russell, chief operating officer of Creso Pharma, says the company’s mission is ‘‘to bring the best of cannabis to better the lives of humans and animals’’.

‘‘We’re product development, technical and regulatory experts,’’ he says.

‘‘Our aim is to capture the good and leave everything bad behind. There is a lot of work Creso is doing behind the scenes to educate and advance the area of medicinal cannabis and hemp derived products, including our collaboration with the University of Wollongong.’’

Russell says Creso Pharma uses refined and standardised whole plant extracts rather than synthetic or crystallised cannabidiol (CBD). Plant-derived CBD is preferable because it benefits from the ‘‘entourage effects’’ offered by extracts derived from the whole plant, he says.

‘‘There are 400-600 compounds in hemp and if you strip some out, other parts don’t work as well.’’

As official attitudes to cannabis evolve in many countries, Creso has looked internationally for opportunity.

In July, Creso Pharma began its acquisition of Canada’s Mernova Medicinal Inc. Mernova has commenced the application for a medical cannabis cultivation licence and is poised to initially establish a 1858-square-metre cannabisgrowing facility with the ability to scale up to 18,580 sqm.

Canada is a world leader in medicinal cannabis and is liberalising its regulatory regime for both medicinal and recreational use. From July, adults will be allowed full access to cannabis for recreational use and further changes to regulations have been announced to allow edible cannabis products in 2019.

Analysts predict the Canadian medicinal cannabis market alone will more than double over the next decade, with recreational use expected to provide additional market traction next year.

Russell says Creso Pharma is the only ASX-listed company with 100 per cent exposure to the Canadian market.

Ownership of Mernova will support both the rapidly growing Canadian market and serve as a source of cultivated product and extract for anibidiol, further vertically integrating Creso, he says.

An even bigger market will open up in January when California – the 10th biggest economy in the world – liberalises recreational use for adults.

Creso Pharma is focused on developing the Australian medicinal cannabis market, launching its first human and animal products in Switzerland and constructing the Mernova Medicinal cultivation facility in Nova Scotia so as to capitalise on the rapidly evolving and growing global market of cannabis and hemp-derived products.

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