Medlab Clinical has secured Australia’s first partnership between a medicinal cannabis biotech and a major pharmaceutical company to accelerate access to over-the-counter pharmacy sales.

The ASX-listed company has signed an exclusive, non-binding Heads of Agreement (HoA) with Arrotex, Australia’s largest generic pharmaceutical and private label over-the-counter medicines company, for the development and distribution of its proprietary cannabinoid formulation NanoCBD for Australian pharmacies.

Medlab CEO Dr Sean Hall said: “This is a major milestone for both the Australian market and the budding partnership between Medlab and Arrotex.

“Unlike many CBD producers, Medlab can deliver to the pharmaceutical standards required for TGA approval and this partnership will now enable direct application into clinical practice through Arrotex’s extensive network.

“There is a clear alignment within both companies to deliver a superior, approved CBD product to Australian patients.”

The HoA is intended to develop a fast track for the clinical package required to lodge a TGA application for a schedule 3 medicine.

Arrotex supplies the medicines which make up 85% of all prescriptions written by Australian doctors.

Chairman and CEO Dennis Bastas said: “We recognise the significant opportunity the down-schedule of CBD to a pharmacist-only medicines schedule represents for both patients and pharmacy.

“Critically, it will be important that this opportunity is realised via the availability of highly efficacious, quality CBD formats, so we are excited to be pursuing this opportunity with Medlab, one of the leading innovators in this space.”

Hall added: “A key differentiator of NanoCBD is the proprietary delivery platform NanoCelle that provides faster and more effective absorption of active ingredients into the bloodstream, without the need for needles or pills.”

A definitive agreement including commercial terms is expected to be concluded on or before July 1 2021.