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Cannabis-based pharmaceuticals offer “major opportunities”, says new report

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Sales of the three most widely used cannabinoid pharmaceuticals are set to reach €1.8 billion by 2025

A new industry report has highlighted the huge “untapped” potential of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals.

The report, released on Thursday 2 September by global cannabis industry consultants Prohibition Partners, finds that research on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the most promising – and potentially lucrative – avenues for new therapeutics in medicine. 

It highlights how the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of medical conditions, from pain and spasticity to PTSD and epileptic seizures, offers major opportunities.

The current global spend on non-cannabinoid-based pain medications worldwide is estimated at US$63-85 billion each year. 

To date, no single cannabinoid-based drug has received widespread approval for the treatment of pain, despite the fact that this is by far the most common condition for which medical cannabis is used.

The market for pharmaceutical products which leverage the ECS to treat illness remains largely untapped, according to the report. 

Around 200 million people are thought to be using cannabis globally each year, with insights from Prohibition Partners’ global surveys of cannabis users in 2020, indicating that around 40 percent of cannabis users have some medical component to their usage.

Despite the seeming involvement of the ECS in the majority of human illnesses, there are only a handful of drugs on the market which modulate it. 

Sales set to reach €1.8 billion by 2025

Prohibition Partners estimate the market size for the three most widely used cannabinoid pharmaceuticals – Epidiolex, Sativex and dronabinol – to be worth just under €900 million as of 2021, growing to €1.8 billion by 2025.

Epidolex is currently the leading cannabinoid pharmaceutical, garnering over €430 million in sales in 2020 and serving an estimated population of more than 20,000. 

The firm behind the drug, GW Pharmaceuticals, was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals earlier this year in a deal worth over €5 billion.

The Pharmaceutical Cannabis Report: 2nd Edition report identifies at least 30 late-stage clinical trials using cannabinoids therapeutics, any of which could have a large impact on the medical cannabis space. 

It is thought that around 250 clinical trials using compounds that target the ECS are carried out each year. There is plenty of room for growth in these figures considering the central metabolic role played by the ECS.

The potential for the use of medical cannabinoids in the pharmaceutical space has barely been scratched. 

In the medium-to-long term, the report suggests that a range of new cannabinoid therapeutics will be approved across the globe. 

Operators in the space can expect to see these products take up market share at the expense of unapproved flower and oils in the next decade. 

Barbara Pastori, director of strategy and data at Prohibition Partners, commented: “The goal of establishing oneself in the medical cannabis space is very much a moving target. The balance of approved and unapproved products is constantly shifting, and new innovations in the highly medicalised sector of cannabis promise to upend some of the current status quo in the industry. As such, Prohibition Partners offers this report along with our consulting services to anyone seeking to understand where they fit in this rapidly evolving industry. We provide industry-leading insights and strategic advice to anyone seeking to establish or develop their position in the value chain.”  

Conor O’Brien, author of the report and analyst at Prohibition Partners added: “Many operators in the medical cannabis space are blind to the risks and opportunities arising from cutting edge developments in clinical trials of cannabinoid medicines, the synthetic cannabinoid space, and the innovations in delivery formats and devices. This report details the state of play for medical cannabis technologies and treatments which will inevitably occupy a large share of the medical cannabis market moving forward, with implications for all patients, regulators and operators in the space.”

For more information, The Pharmaceutical Cannabis Report: 2nd Edition summary can be downloaded here.

Markets and industry

Cannabis beverage market to reach £6.43bn by 2027

Fortune Business Insights says the market will grow at a CAGR of 50.9 per cent from 2020 to 2027.

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Cannabis beverage market to reach £6.43bn by 2027

A new report has projected the cannabis beverage market to reach £6.43bn (USD$8521.6m) by 2027.

The report from Fortune Business Insights, which offers expert corporate analysis and data, has said the market is set to see increasing growth due to the surging popularity of the products. 

It noted that the online retail segment is set to dominate and that specialty stores would see greater sales if they display novel products online.

With consumer demand increasingly shifting toward chemical-free and natural trends and moving away from unhealthy consumption habits such as smoking, the report suggests consumers will increasingly move toward novel cannabis products like beverages. 

In particular, consumers in Europe and North America are rapidly inclining towards these trends, such as recognisable and herbal formulations, chemical-free, and all-natural cannabis beverages.

However, it highlights that governments of various countries are implementing stringent regulations on the distribution and manufacturing of such THC products – a factor that is likely to hamper the market’s growth in the near future.

Regionally, the sector is set to favour growth in North America, as, since the passing of the 2018 US Farm Bill, the demand for hemp-CBD has surged rapidly, according to the report. It also highlights that Latin America, Oceania, and Asia will exhibit slow growth because of the ban of cannabis beverages in these regions.

Recent developments have seen leading lifestyle brand, Tonino Lamborghini, move into the market through a licensing agreement with The Flora Growth Corp which will see the distribution of CBD beverages in North America and Columbia. Additionally, Canopy Growth Corp is planning to introduce a new range of cannabis beverages into the US to strengthen its position in the sector.

To read the report in full, please visit: https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/enquiry/request-sample-pdf/cannabis-beverages-market-100738

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Synbiotic acquires 50.1% of cannabis group in significant merger for Europe

Synbiotic SE has acquired 50.1 per cent of Daniel Kruse’s cannabis group in what it has described as the most significant merger for the European cannabis sector. 

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Synbiotic acquires 50.1% of cannabis group in significant merger for Europe

Synbiotic SE, the largest listed cannabis company in Europe, has made the acquisition of cannabis industry pioneer Daniel Kruse’s group of companies at a valuation of €11.2m (~£9.53m).

The 50.1 per cent acquisition of Kruse’s companies will see Synbiotic SE securing the subsequent acquisition of the remaining 49.9 per cent by option. With the acquisition of the companies, Hanf Farm, Hempro International, Hemp Factory and MH medical hemp, Synbiotic is raising its sales forecast for 2021 to €15m (~£12.76m).

Synbiotic has said that the addition of the companies will enrich its portfolio with vital infrastructures and profitable brands.

CEO of SynBiotic, Lars Müller, commented: “The co-operation with Daniel Kruse is a genuine accolade in the cannabis sector. SynBiotic SE will benefit massively from what amounts to over half a century of combined know-how gathered by industry pioneers Daniel Kruse and Rafael Dulon. 

“So far, the only comparable acquisitions have taken place in Canada. This makes this merger the most significant in the European cannabis sector. I am greatly honoured by the trust Daniel Kruse and Rafael Dulon have displayed in SynBiotic SE; this shows that we are on the right track with our vision.”

Read more: Psychedelic entrepreneur Christian Angermayer acquires SynBiotic shares

Kruse, president of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and industry pioneer with more than 25 years of experience in the sector, commented:  “After 25 years in the hemp industry, it is a great pleasure and honour for me to have found the right partner for the coming decades with SynBiotic SE. Our decades of experience alongside the supply chain of our group of companies find an excellent complement in the enormous dynamics of SynBiotic SE.

“The appealing nature and charisma of Lars Müller and his team contribute, but it is above all their displaying the highest professionalism and efficiency that has won us over. This combination makes SynBiotic SE the next Unicorn candidate and an ideal partner for me. The European hemp and cannabis market is set to become one of the most exciting and successful industries in the coming years. The challenges yet to be mastered are well known, but the resulting opportunities are unlimited.”

Rafael Dulon, managing director of Hanf Farm, the largest organic hemp farm in Europe, and expert member of the International Institute for Cannabinoids (ICANNA), has also worked in the hemp industry for 25 years. He was awarded the Global Hemp Innovation Award at the World Hemp Congress in 2015 for the development of a hemp harvester.

Dulon stated: “The synergies created for Hanf Farm through its inclusion in the SynBiotic SE Group will lead to significantly faster growth. Within SynBiotic SE’s strong network of people and companies, we will be much better able to implement our ambitious goals in expanding our capacities and competencies as an original agricultural producer and primary processor of hemp.

“I am very pleased that Lars Müller fully supports my ideas for the development of sustainable, organic agriculture. Together, we will use the great potential of hemp in agriculture and market our healthy, climate-friendly products even more vigorously, and as well develop many new products. I look forward to using my many years of experience to help support Lars Müller’s vision.”

Synbiotic is listed on the Frankfurt and Düsseldorf stock exchanges and announced plans to begin listing on the Canadian NEO Exchange in Toronto in October. 

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Markets and industry

First-ever UK EIS and SEIS fund launched for cannabis

An SEIS and EIS fund has been launched in the UK that will target the medical cannabis sector.

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First-ever UK EIS and SEIS fund launched for cannabis

For the first time, an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) fund has been launched in the UK.

The launch of the first-of-its-kind MEDCAN Fund has been announced in a statement by Óskare Capital UK, which will advise the fund managed by Sapphire Capital Partners LLP.

Óskare said that the fund will invest in both early-stage UK companies and global companies that have the requisite operations within the UK to provide investors with access to a diversified portfolio of companies in the sector.

The Fund already has a pipeline of deals and will invest in startups across the value chain.

Óskare Capital UK director, Oliver Lamb, commented: “We were motivated to set up the MEDCAN fund with Sapphire Capital Partners LLP given that around 40 per cent of our European dealflow is coming from the UK, and the tax breaks investors can gain through the SEIS and EIS schemes are significant.”

EIS and SEIS are UK government initiative schemes that encourage growth and development by granting private UK investors significant tax breaks when investing in qualifying early-stage companies. 

The MEDCAN Fund team will specifically target leading companies in the UK which it considers to have strong IP and which are developing novel therapeutics that target the endocannabinoid system. It will also invest in companies that form part of the wider medical cannabis ecosystem of services and products.

Óskare highlighted the case of UK cannabis company, GW Pharmaceuticals, the producer of the FDA-approved cannabis-based epilepsy medication Epidiolex, which was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals for (USD)$7.2bn.

Óskare Capital UK director, Nicola Broughton, said: “Whilst GW is clearly an excellent example of a UK success story in the sector, we believe that there are opportunities in the market with stronger intellectual property which address far wider ranges of medical conditions that would result in even greater exits.”

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