Bay of Plenty medical cannabis firm Eqalis Pharmaceuticals Limited has this week received one of the country’s first commercial licences.
The commercial licence will enable Eqalis Pharmaceuticals to proceed with plans to develop a range of high quality cannabis-based medicines for the New Zealand market.
Since the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in New Zealand in March this year, Eqalis Pharmaceuticals is one of only a handful of companies to meet the stringent requirements to hold a commercial licence.
Managing Director Greg Misson is pleased with their progress to date.
“The path to market for medicinal cannabis is not a short one. We’re thrilled to be on track with our development in what has been an extremely challenging year for many businesses.”
And while the commercial licence will enable Eqalis Pharmaceuticals to grow and manufacture medicinal products, they will still need to gain Good Manufacturing Practice certification and then put their products through clinical trials before they can supply the local market’s growing demand for non-opioid pain relief.
That demand is currently only able to be served by imported medicinal cannabis, an expensive solution for the one in five New Zealanders struggling with chronic pain conditions.
Eqalis Pharmaceuticals are mindful of the need to develop local solutions for the New Zealand market.
“We want to build a strong, sustainable industry in rural New Zealand. A pharmaceutical business that provides employment and works towards improving the health and well-being of all Kiwis,” says Greg.
“Post-Covid, we can see that our dependence on foreign suppliers for critical medicines leaves us vulnerable in an economic or health crisis.
“Eqalis Pharmaceuticals is ideally placed to manufacture and supply affordable high-quality medicinal cannabis to not only meet the needs of patients but to also provide economic stability to our local region and the country.”