Australia’s national science agency CSIRO has announced it will support the Australian cannabis industry and partner with local manufacturers to drive the development of cannabis therapeutics under a new licence.

CSIRO scientist, adjunct professor Peter Duggan, said the licence placed CSIRO at the forefront of research into the development of new cannabis medicines.

“Around the world, researchers are exploring the potential for medicinal cannabis to help with conditions such as epilepsy and the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain,” he said.

“We had been able to do early-stage work with cannabis, but the new licence will enable us to develop cannabis-derived cannabinoid medicines using innovative extraction, refinement and formulation techniques.”

CSIRO said it is the only independent research institute in Australia able to develop drug manufacturing protocols in the medicinal cannabis space.

It said its work will bridge the gap between the growing of plants and the manufacture of medicines, with the researchers developing the manufacturing protocols and preparing the first prototype products before transferring the technology to manufacturers for large-scale production.

Cann Group CEO and Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia (MCIA) chair Peter Crock welcomed the move.

He said: “Cann Group has worked closely with CSIRO over the past three years and has been pleased with the results.”

“With this independent licence CSIRO will be able to play a key role in helping establish a vibrant industry in Australia.

“Research that creates new and enhanced medical products and improves manufacturing processes is important if we want Australia’s medicinal cannabis industry to be competitive in a global market.”