'It's A Huge Thing': Avicanna Receives Unique Canadian Cannabinoid Research License
Health Canada has granted biopharmaceutical researcher and cannabis producer Avicanna Inc (TSX:AVCN) with a research license that will allow the company to perform research and intellectual property development on cannabinoids at its facility in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.
The license also allows Avicanna to import active pharmaceutical ingredients into Canada from the company’s own subsidiaries’ facilities in Colombia.
Why This License Is Unique
"We’re the only company in all of MaRS that has a cannabis license now. It's a cannabis license, but for research and pharmaceutical development," CEO Aras Azadian told Benzinga in an interview.
"It’s a huge thing, a massive milestone, because we can now apply to import our own cannabinoids to conduct R&D and pharmaceutical development, which will lead to further we can do pre-clinical studies."
Avicanna's labs are located inside Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)'s life sciences incubator JLABS.
The CEO emphasized Avicanna’s role as a specialized cannabinoid pharmaceutical researcher and developer.
The main reason the company became vertically integrated was due to the need to obtain high-quality products to work with, Azadian said. Although Avicanna is a licensed producer, the company’s mission is in R&D, he said.
Given the restrictions on cannabis research, no other company inside the incubator has yet been granted with a research license of this kind, Azadian said.
"MaRS is like the Silicon Valley for life sciences here in Canada."
The complex houses over 1,200 Canadian life science and tech companies.
"Now, all the medical community — all the researchers that we collaborate with — will have access to further cannabinoid research through Avicanna and its lab."
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Importing Avicanna’s Own APIs
Avicanna owns Sativa Nativa S.A.S. and Santa Marta Golden Hemp S.A.S., two cultivation subsidiaries located in Santa Marta, Colombia, and has recently developed an in-house third-party quality assurance and testing facility.
Through its new license, Avicanna will be able to import active pharmaceutical ingredients, or cannabinoids directly to its own lab, where the company will be able to extend its research and product development.
"In this way, Avicanna has further fortified its leadership position in the cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical industry and will further leverage working with top Canadian researchers, clinicians and world-class institutions, many of which are located meters away from the newly licensed lab," the CEO said.
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