Under a newly acquired licence, CSIRO will support the burgeoning local cannabis industry and partner with local manufacturers to drive the development of cannabis therapeutics, in a move that is set to create new jobs in Australia.
CSIRO scientist Adjunct Professor Peter Duggan said the licence places CSIRO at the forefront of research into the development of new cannabis medicines, which should help people with a variety of conditions including multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
“Around the world, researchers are exploring the potential for medicinal cannabis to help with conditions such as epilepsy and the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain,” Prof Duggan said.
“We had been able to do early-stage work with cannabis, but the new licence will enable us to develop cannabis-derived cannabinoid medicines using innovative extraction, refinement and formulation techniques.”
CSIRO is currently the only independent research institute in Australia able to develop drug manufacturing protocols in the medicinal cannabis space. Its work is expected to bridge the gap between the growing of plants and the manufacture of medicines, with the researchers developing the manufacturing protocols and preparing the first prototype products before transferring the technology to manufacturers for large-scale production.
Peter Crock, CEO of medicinal cannabis company Cann Group and Chair of Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia (MCIA), said there are over 20 medicinal cannabis companies currently listed on the ASX, and a growing number of licensed cultivators and manufacturers now in Australia.
“Cann Group has worked closely with CSIRO over the past three years and has been pleased with the results,” Crock said.
“With this independent licence CSIRO will be able to play a key role in helping establish a vibrant industry in Australia.
“Research that creates new and enhanced medical products and improves manufacturing processes is important if we want Australia’s medicinal cannabis industry to be competitive in a global market.”
The global market for medicinal cannabis is projected to be worth US$44 billion by 2024.