One of Canada’s largest licensed weed producers has formed a strategic partnership with a major pharmaceutical company, marking the first — and much anticipated — foray of Big Pharma into the legal cannabis industry.
Tilray, which is largely a British Columbia-based company but with headquarters in Toronto, announced early Monday morning that it had signed a binding letter of intent with Sandoz Canada, an affiliate of Sandoz International GmBh, which is part of the Swiss pharma giant Novartis AG.
The agreement has two major components to it. First, it will see Tilray leveraging Sandoz’s know-how and internal sales force to educate Canadian pharmacists and physicians about Tilray’s medical cannabis products. Second, Sandoz and Tilray will partner up exclusively to develop new non-combustible cannabis products such as gel caps, edibles and sprays. And depending on future regulatory changes, Sandoz could eventually become the wholesale distributor of Tilray’s medical products to Canadian pharmacies and hospitals.
“A lot of people were wondering when global pharma would enter the cannabis industry. Now it officially has,” Tilray Chief Executive Officer Brendan Kennedy told VICE Money in an interview. “This is a huge milestone for us, our industry, and the medical community at large.”
Canada’s medical marijuana market, established in 2013 under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Regulations (ACMPR) regime, has already spawned a billion dollar industry. In the second quarter of 2017 alone, licensed weed producers sold 7,500 kg of cannabis oil products and almost 6,000 kg of dried marijuana. There are roughly 235,000 registered medical cannabis patients and 10,433 medical practitioners nationwide who have at some point, prescribed medical cannabis to patients, according to data from Statistics Canada.
One of Canada’s largest licensed weed producers has formed a strategic partnership with a major pharmaceutical company, marking the first — and much