AusCann Group Holdings (ASX:AC8) targeting cannabinoid pharma products for 2019


by Jessica Amir

AusCann Group Holdings  Limited (ASX:AC8) Managing Director, Elaine Darby talks about the company's final dose cannabinoid capsule study, 2018 crop yields, production and outlook.

Jessica Amir:
Hello, I'm Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network. With me today is AusCann Group Holdings Limited (ASX:AC8) Managing Director Elaine Darby.

Elaine, thanks so much for coming to Sydney and welcome back to the network.

Elaine Darby: Thanks, Jessica.

Jessica Amir: For those who aren't familiar, you're developing a range of medicinal cannabinoid products. Just tell us where you're at today.

Elaine Darby: These medications that we've been working on and developing should be due for release around mid-next year, 2019.

Essentially there's three main product types, or families, that have different formulations of cannabinoids, and these are for the treatment of chronic pain.

Jessica Amir: And now can you tell us about the results of your final dose cannabinoid study?

Elaine Darby: We're really excited by this. Essentially this was piloting work that we've been doing for about 10 to 12 months now, and development of these new final dose forms for cannabinoid medicines.

What we found is that with existing medications that are available there are some problems with the stability of the key active ingredients, these cannabinoids. They degrade very easily with heat, light, exposure to air, so a lot of our work that we did was developing a new dose form that would be stable under all these conditions, and this is where we've developed this solid capsule format for patients to take. So it really is a game-changer for the industry, it's easy for doctors to prescribe in terms of the dosage, and easy for patients to take.

Jessica Amir: Now further to that, on the capsules themselves, where do you think you'll looking at manufacturing, I understand hopefully here in Australia?

Elaine Darby: Absolutely. This definitely will be undertaken here in Australia, which is wonderful. We'll be doing cultivating and manufacturing here in Australia, and those operations would be established before the end of the year.

Jessica Amir: Thanks, Elaine. And for someone who suffers from chronic pain, how do they get access to your products come next year?

Elaine Darby: Absolutely. All these medicines are prescribed by a doctor, so they need to go talk to their doctor about whether this treatment is right for them.

Essentially we will be undertaking a lot of outreach program in terms of educating doctors about cannabinoid medicines, so when they do have patients come to them that they can make an informed decision in terms of whether to prescribe those medications or not.

So essentially the patient would get their prescription from the doctor, go to their pharmacy, and it would be dispensed in that way.

We've formed a distribution agreement with Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API), which is one of the largest distributors of pharmaceutical medications through the pharmacy network.

Jessica Amir: Thanks, Elaine. Now let's talk finances and outlook. Can you start by telling us about the forecast for FY18 revenues?

Elaine Darby: The fantastic thing is we completed a successful capital raise just recently -- brought in just over AUD$35 million into the bank -- so we're well-funded now to proceed with all our plans of the operations here in Australia and also expanding those in Chile.

In terms of revenue coming in, once we release our products in 2019 we're certainly looking forward to revenue from those particular products.

Some of those products will go into clinical trial work for product registration, which will increase distribution for us, but we can also start selling those products straight off the bat under the special access to things here in Australia, and we also have the export market available to us also.

Jessica Amir: Can you give us a comment about your share price over the past 12 months?

Elaine Darby: Yeah, certainly over the past 12 months, absolutely we've seen a real boost in the share price. I think the announcement by the minister that we were allowed to export was a huge bonus for us, and I think the shareholders and wider markets sort of appreciated what that value really can relate to.

We're happy with how things are tracking at the moment and we're certainly in a very solid position going forward to achieve our aims of production.

Jessica Amir: And lastly, Elaine, is there anything else that you'd like to say about the company?

Elaine Darby: Yeah, well, I guess in essence we've had fantastic progress to date with the development of our products. We're well-funded now following our capital raise, and we're really looking forward to getting on with the job now that we've got all the licensing, the IP in place to produce these products here in Australia and have them out sort of middle of next year and start producing some revenue.

Jessica Amir: Wonderful. Elaine Darby, thank you so much for coming to Sydney and thanks for the update.

Elaine Darby: No, thanks very much.


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