Clinics and data-backed medicinal cannabis firm Emyria has embarked on a drug-development program of its own. Here, chief executive Dr Michael Winlo tells Cannabiz that TGA registration must be the ambition for producers, and suggests why some may be unwilling to invest in research.

Developing and registering its own drugs was not part of Emyria’s business plan.

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Its pre-IPO prospectus, released last February under its previous name, Emerald Clinics, spoke of “drug-development customers”.  Absent was the proposal to get into the drug development game itself.

Emyria chief executive Dr Michael Winlo

Yet in the second half of 2021, the WA-based firm will lodge a final evidence package to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to support registration of EMD-003, its own cannabinoid medicine to tackle anxiety, depression and stress.

Initial clinical evidence analysis and patent filing has already been completed, with clinical trials expected to begin in the first six months of the year.

For Emyria, the home-grown drug development program emerged from the reluctance of medicinal cannabis producers to partner with the firm’s analytical arm.

The company’s directors hoped its mass of real-world clinical data, gathered from patients at its five Australian clinics, would be an attractive proposition for drug developers keen to seek registration for their product by building an extensive body of evidence.

But while Zelira Therapeutics and Canopy Growth have seen the possibilities and are working with Emyria – on autism and insomnia projects in the case of Zelira – few others, so far, have signed up.

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...