Big pharma will enter the cannabis sector ‘sooner than we thought’, Althea chief executive Josh Fegan has predicted, as he outlined the company’s growth potential and its ‘sprint’ for profitability.

He told Cannabiz Althea should turn its first profit in FY22 — despite a A$15m loss in FY21 — and said its dual recreational and medicinal strategy would ensure sustained growth, provide ‘payback’ for shareholders and an attractive proposition for future investors.

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In the second of a two-part interview, Fegan also revealed that new formulations are in the pipeline for Althea and suggested the much-vaunted opportunities presented by over-the-counter S3 products have been ‘blown out of proportion’.

Big Pharma, big plans?

With the exception of Epidyolex manufacturer GW Pharma, acquired earlier this year by Jazz Pharmaceuticals for US$7.2m, few pharma companies have dabbled in medicinal cannabis.

Josh Fegan: big pharma already looking at cannabis sector

But that could change — and sooner than expected — according to Fegan, who hinted that big pharma was closely watching the sector.

“We know big pharma is going to come into the cannabis space at some stage. In fact, it’s probably going to happen sooner than we thought,” he said.

Pressed on the issue, and why he believes it may happen earlier than expected, Fegan said exploratory discussions were already taking place.

While declining to reveal the nature of any talks, he suggested when pharma does enter the market it, will be through acquisition.

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...