Former Beacon Medical Australia managing director David Hermes has launched his own specialist flower business, Alfie Therapeutics.
Alfie will focus on the top end of the market, curating high-quality, GMP-certified cannabis flower from an unnamed Canadian partner.
While the name of the firm’s supplier remains confidential, Hermes told Cannabiz: “When our grows are released, patients are going to be impressed.”
Grown under small-batch conditions, he said Alfie’s strains have “innovative genetic profiles… with all steps in the process performed by hand to preserve plant integrity”.
“We know that varying cultivation quality and flower packaging can cause issues among the medical community, and we aim to solve that,” Hermes added.
“Alfie’s goal is to provide Australian patients with access to some of the world’s leading therapies, cultivated under craft-like conditions to produce high levels of terpenes, flower structure, and consistent script sizes.
“It’s difficult to mass produce quality in any industry, particularly with naturally grown products, which is why we are investing in additional resource-intense processes to ensure we are a company that patients, doctors, and pharmacies can rely on.”
Hermes said he has observed the importance of quality during his time in the Australian industry, where discerning patients know a good product when they use it.
“Patients ask their doctor for specific products because they see them on Facebook message boards, on cannabis review sites, or Reddit. It’s a medication, but patients talk about it. They are discerning for quality and consistency.
“I wanted to focus on something that was going to really meet patient needs in terms of quality, and be able to consistently do that.”
Alfie has launched two products so far, a balanced 50:50 indica/sativa and a 75% indica-dominant strain, targeting patients with conditions including chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia. However, Hermes said it was important to deliver choice and personalisation for patients.
“Cannabis is such a personalised experience. Even with the same indication, different strains work better for different people. So it’s important to have that choice.
“I know people look at THC percentage (Alfie’s products are 22% THC and less than 1% CBD), but I’m trying to get away from the myth that higher THC means better treatment, and instead focus more on terpenes. I’m very proud that we’re 2.7 to 3.5% terpene content because it is a great indicator of the quality of the plant and how well it’s been maintained.
“It’s hard to get terpenes to that high a level through mass-produced techniques.”
And he hopes that focus on quality — reflected in the product’s sleek packaging — will deliver value, despite a premium price.
“You’re always going to have somebody that just wants the cheapest thing out there,” Hermes said. “But a lot of patients are looking at quality markers and that’s [the market] we’re focusing on. After all, price is what you pay, value is what you get.”