MP for Botany, Christopher Luxon, has visited local medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, where he viewed production of the first New Zealand grown and made full-spectrum products, due to be launched in the second half of this year.
“Mr Luxon’s visit to New Zealand’s newest industry was well received. During his tour, he could see we’re busy delivering for the domestic market, with exports starting later this year. He appreciated the sheer scale and complexity of our medicines manufacturing here in East Tamaki,” says Carmen Doran, chief executive of Helius Therapeutics.
During the visit to New Zealand’s largest medicinal cannabis company, Mr Luxon took the opportunity to meet and speak with Helius staff, reinforcing the importance of such new businesses and industries for the country’s future.
“Innovative businesses like Helius will play a key role in New Zealand’s economic recovery. It is great to see them leading the way in research and development, as well as now delivering premium, natural New Zealand products to patients here and soon overseas. Best of all, it’s coming out of the very productive electorate of Botany,” says Christopher Luxon.
The MP’s 26 May visit follows the Ministry of Health renewing and expanding Helius’ licence, allowing the company to register additional medicines and make active ingredients onsite from raw cannabis material.
Following the initial availability of Kiwi-manufactured products using imported ingredients, 100% locally grown products are now imminent. Organic dried flower from the South Island will soon arrive en masse at Helius for precision processing, including CBD extraction.
“Since the inception of the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, Kiwis have been waiting for New Zealand grown and made medicinal cannabis products. For the industry to be able to deliver these for patients is exactly why we’re in business – getting quality local medicines to those who need them most,” says Ms Doran.
Helius has an 8,800sqm research, medicines manufacturing and indoor cannabis cultivation complex. Last year, it was the country’s first medicinal cannabis business to achieve a GMP Licence for Manufacturing Medicines, covering the first products to market.
Every New Zealand GP can now prescribe medicinal cannabis for any health condition, with local products proving more cost effective for Kiwi patients.
With New Zealand’s quality standards recognised throughout Europe and many other countries, future export receipts will also be considerable. In fact, the global medicinal cannabis market is expected to grow to over NZ$60 billion by 2025, with plant-derived medicines rapidly increasing in popularity internationally.
Creating a New Zealand medicinal cannabis industry to deliver local products for Kiwis and contribute economically was unanimously supported by MPs in 2018.
“We’ve enjoyed significant support from the Ministry of Health, MedSafe, the Medicinal Cannabis Agency, and from politicians across the political spectrum. It has been a long haul but we’re in delivery mode and that’s exciting to share,” says Carmen Doran.
Helius is focused on medicinal cannabis research, innovation, manufacturing and commercialisation. It is the country’s largest licenced producer, the first to achieve a GMP Licence for Manufacturing Medicines, and the first medicinal cannabis cultivator to be certified as New Zealand Grown through the Buy NZ Made Campaign. The company operates a state-of-the-art, integrated facility in East Auckland with indoor controlled growing systems, extraction site, an advanced cannabinoid research laboratory and manufacturing. Helius is setting the standard for effective and accessible medicinal cannabis products in New Zealand and beyond.