New Zealand cultivator Puro will supply fellow Kiwi firm Helius Therapeutics with 10 tonnes of organic cannabis over the next five years in a deal described as a milestone in the nascent industry across the Tasman.
The partnership will provide New Zealanders with locally made medicines and pave the way for international exports, the companies said.
Helius Therapeutics chief executive Carmen Doran said it will give Helius a “secure local supply chain of premium, organic medicinal cannabis” from which it will create “100% New Zealand-grown, manufactured, and branded medicines”.
“Both Puro and Helius are driven to deliver safe, quality and affordable NZ-made medicinal cannabis to Kiwi patients,” she said.
“While Kiwis are new to cannabis medicines, we expect having a New Zealand-made product will give them confidence and greater choice.
“At the same time, Puro and Helius can work together to deliver into key global export markets.”
Tim Aldridge, managing director of Marlborough-based Puro, said the deal is significant not only for its size and scale but for “what it signals for the future of the industry”.
“It’s the start of a long-term commercial partnership between Helius and Puro where we’ll work together to develop the local industry, establishing pathways for an exciting new export industry for New Zealand,” he said.
Aldridge added Puro expects to become the first NZ company to export flower in 2022.
The deal strengthens an existing relationship between the firms, with Helius already extracting Puro’s medicinal cannabis at its East Auckland facility.
Helius was issued with the local industry’s first Good Manufacturing Practice manufacturing licence last July.
Doran said the high quality standard of New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis has the potential to open up export opportunities to Europe, including the highly valued German market, and become one of the country’s largest earners.
“This supply agreement reflects just how far our industry has come in a few short years and gives Helius the necessary scale to take premium Kiwi-grown and made products to the world,” she said.
“[It] will also enable the sharing of best practice and R&D for future products and provide an opportunity for New Zealand to become a medicinal cannabis research centre of excellence.”