Building an export industry for cannabis medicines

Roger Montgomery

Montgomery Investment Management

The medicinal cannabis industry is gaining significant momentum, however, still remains in the early stages of growth. Zelira Therapeutics recently reported record quarterly cash receipts for the third quarter, up 249 per cent on H1 FY21.

Founded in Australia in 2015 as Zelda Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) and headquartered in Perth, in late 2019 the company merged with US-based Ilera Therapeutics to rebrand under the name Zelira Therapeutics. The company is a global leader in the development of clinically validated cannabis medicines for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions including insomnia, autism, and chronic non-cancer pain.

Zelira has developed a portfolio of proprietary revenue-generating proprietary products for autism and insomnia and has a pipeline of new products undergoing clinical development that are positioned to enter global markets.

Record revenue was generated in the previous quarter from sales of two proprietary formulations developed under the HOPE brand for autism, available in Australia and a growing number of US States, and sales of a patented cannabinoid oil for chronic insomnia oil.

Zelira Therapeutics currently has a market capitalisation of around $60 million.

Finding solutions for autism and insomnia

Zelira’s competitive advantage lies in its ability to bring high-value cannabinoid medicines to global markets that are supported by high quality clinical and patient data, and which address unmet patient needs for conditions such as autism, insomnia, and chronic non-cancer pain.

The company is a world-leader in medicinal cannabis research, and it was the first medicinal cannabis company in Australia to run a clinical trial that contained both THC and CBD. In 2020 it completed a successful world-first Phase 2A human clinical trial on chronic insomnia that showed that Zelira’s proprietary formulation was safe and effective and led to Zenivol becoming available by prescription in Australia.

Zelira’s model and specialist team undertake rigorous scientific work to develop proprietary medicinal-cannabis products, and to gather high quality and real-world patient data on the safety and effectiveness of these medicines before moving rapidly through to commercialisation.

Zelira also works in partnership with world-leading researchers and organisations including Curtin University in Perth, WA; the Telethon Kids Institute; the University of Western Australia, in Perth; St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia; and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the United States.

Through a partnership with Emyria, Zelira has also launched an observational trial for its HOPE brands that will be one of the largest medicinal cannabis studies ever undertaken involving a specific range of products in patients diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Results from an earlier observational trial on paediatric autism with researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have been submitted for peer-review. Autism Spectrum Australia estimate 1 in 70 Australians are on the autism spectrum; that is around 353,880 people. It is four times more common in boys than girls.

Outlook

Through its US, Australia and EU footprint, the company has access to the largest, most profitable, and fastest growing medicinal cannabis markets in the world. According to Imarc Group, the global medicinal cannabis market was valued at US$16.5 billion in 2019. The market is expected to grow substantially over the next five years with Prohibition Partners forecasting a market size of US$62.5 billion in 2024. North America and Europe are expected to be the largest markets in 2024, accounting for 68 per cent of the total market.

Over the next 12 months Zelira plans to launch new products and expand into new US markets by obtaining additional licensing agreements for the company’s proprietary autism formulation and its patented insomnia formulation. The company has ongoing negotiations to expand distribution of these products into other global markets, including Germany and the UK.

Further research is being undertaken to show the potential benefit that can be gained from the use of medicinal cannabis for a variety of other conditions.

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Roger Montgomery
Founder and Chairman
Montgomery Investment Management

Roger Montgomery founded Montgomery Investment Management, www.montinvest.com in 2010. Roger has than three decades of experience in investing, financial markets and analysis. Roger also authored the best-selling investment book, Value.able.

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