Canadian Cannabis Company Tilray Hooks Up With Big Pharma

Canadian medical marijuana company Tilray has signed a binding letter of intent (LOI) to collaborate with generic pharmaceutical company Sandoz Canada Inc., an affiliate of Sandoz International GmbH, which is part of the Novartis Group (NVS).  The two companies are working together in order to accelerate innovation and increase the availability of high-quality cannabis products.

“This agreement is a major milestone on the long road to legitimizing medical cannabis as conventional medicine,” said Brendan Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer of Tilray. “Tilray is pleased to be what we believe is, the first federally licensed producer of medical cannabis to form a strategic alliance with a local affiliate of a global pharmaceutical company to improve the availability and quality of medical cannabis products for Canadian patients in need.”

The agreement builds on Tilray’s track record as a company that makes pharmaceutical grade medical cannabis. It was the first medical cannabis company to obtain current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) certification in accordance with the EMA. The company supplies thousands of patients in ten countries.

With this collaboration, Tilray will be able to leverage the Sandoz salesforce to better educate pharmacists and physicians about medical marijuana. It will become the exclusive partner of Sandoz with respect to non-smokable/non-combustible medical marijuana products. The two companies will also develop new medical cannabis products that aren’t smokable.

They hope that in the future, if there are regulatory changes, Tilray will be able to capitalize on Sandoz’s supply chain with Canadian hospitals and pharmacies.

Tilray is a private company owned by Privateer Holdings.  Novartis AG has collaboration agreements with Xencor; Surface Oncology; Intellia Therapeutics; Caribou Biosciences; Bristol-Myers Squibb; IBM Watson Health; Amgen; Allergan plc; Science 37, Inc.; PEAR Therapeutics. Novartis AG was founded in 1895 and is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. The Sandoz segment of the company provides active ingredients and finished dosage forms of pharmaceuticals in the areas of cardiovascular, central nervous system, dermatology, gastrointestinal and hormonal therapies, metabolism, oncology, ophthalmic, pain, and respiratory; active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates primarily antibiotics; protein or other biotechnology-based products, including biosimilars; and biotechnology manufacturing services.


Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

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