Australian medical cannabis producer Little Green Pharma recently became the first, and currently only, in its native country to bring locally-grown medical-grade products to market.
It is now plotting international growth, having recently exported medicinal cannabis products for patient use in the UK.
The firm was initially established to help a family access cannabis whose child was suffering up to 70 seizures a day, after the substance was legalised in Australia in late 2016.
The company quickly built a reputation and market presence through its first mover advantage and its vision to develop a precision dosing methodology, which effectively optimises the cannabis needed to be consumed to achieve the same results.
It recently raised $10m to fuel its expansion after listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Little Green Pharma – the first business to ever export Australian medicinal cannabis – is now looking at global opportunities.
Earlier this month it entered the UK market after securing an import and distribution partnership with Astral Health, a subsidiary of the LYPHE Group.
It is looking to export its cannabis medicines into Germany through its local import and distribution partners in the near future.
Expansion into Asia is cited as a longer-term ambition for the business as the market opens up.
As part of its ongoing growth, and to support the development of the market, Little Green Pharma is investing heavily in research into cannabis.
It is currently involved in research projects focusing on pain and PTSD, with more planned for the future to help increase levels of clinical data available on cannabis and its effects.
Managing director Fleta Solomon (pictured) says: “There is actually considerable evidence to support the use of medicinal cannabis in certain conditions with the industry having over 20 years of real-world data across multiple jurisdictions.
“As medicinal cannabis has only been legalised recently, Little Green Pharma is looking forward to doing double-blind placebo-controlled trials and gathering more evidence.
“We have achieved a huge amount since our inception having produced Australia’s first locally-grown cannabinoid medicines for patient use in just 18 months.
“We have now achieved the milestone of exporting Australia’s first cannabis medicines for the benefit of patients in the UK, and we are keen to build on that further.”
“We started small to achieve proof of concept, opting against looking for huge capital backing initially, and we have shown the world we can do what we set out to achieve.
“Through our ASX listing, that puts us in a strong position for growth with our existing capacity to produce 110,000 bottles of medicines annually.
“While we are called Little Green Pharma, the ambition is to be ‘Big Green Pharma’ and a known name on a global scale.
“We have just come into the UK and the recent change in law which permits bulk orders will mean that in the near term we can bring our products in much greater quantities to UK patients. We will also be exporting into Germany imminently after securing three distribution agreements there.”
The unusual business name was chosen to help stand out in a fast-growing marketplace, explains Fleta, and to appeal to patients as a relatable resource, rather than a corporate manufacturer.
“We chose the name Little Green Pharma as we wanted to be different in the market and resonate with patients and families.
“We wanted to build a trusting brand where patients could call and speak to a human that cares. At Little Green Pharma we don’t just bottle the plant, we bottle hope,” she says.
“Our brand is focused on growing and producing full plant medicines without the use of pesticides, not a synthetic manufactured drug.
“We are conscious that a stigma does exist to some extent, as only a few years ago cannabis was a prohibited substance.
“But we are committed to enabling as many patients as we can to access our medicines. We recognise that cannabis is not a panacea. It is not going to appeal to, or be able to help, everyone, but we believe medicinal cannabis has a huge role to play in the medical field.”