Wellnex Life’s (ASX: WNX) strategy to penetrate the medicinal cannabis and hemp market in Australia is a step closer under a joint venture with Victoria-based producer OneLife Botanicals.
OneLife is a licensed cannabis producer and manufacturer and has what Wellnex describes as a world-class cannabis production, research and development facility.
It is licensed to generate up to 20 tonnes of product a year.
Under the joint venture terms, Wellnex will have the “first right of refusal” on OneLife’s cannabis-based raw materials and products, which will be sold under a jointly developed brand.
Wellnex chief executive officer George Karafotias said the joint venture will enable the company to be one of the first in bringing cannabis-based products to the Australian market.
“We are targeting production of a medicinal cannabis product appropriate for the Special Access Scheme (SAS) market by the end of this year, and are aiming to have a registered product in the Schedule 3 (S3) market by the end of calendar year 2023.”
Once registration of an S3 product has been achieved, Wellnex will earn a 4% interest in OneLife – giving it ownership and exposure across the whole value chain.
Mr Karafotias noted OneLife had recently acquired Medipharm Australia, which operated “world class manufacturing facilities”. This will enable medicinal cannabis products to be manufactured and brought to market “immediately”.
He said Wellnex will have full traceability of the whole production and manufacturing process of its medicinal cannabis products.
Medicinal cannabis market
Wellnex has already begun the process to obtain registration of medicinal cannabis products under Australia’s S3 scheme.
The S3 scheme has allowed medicinal cannabis products to be sold as over-the-counter medicine for the first time in Australia.
This market is expected to be worth around $3 billion by 2024.
Meanwhile, the SAS market is expected to be worth $500 million a year and is growing “rapidly”.
Wellnex is already in advanced negotiations with leading pharmacy retailers to range its new medicinal cannabis products under the scheme.