Rua Bioscience has launched its first medicine in New Zealand, available on prescription from this week.

Manufactured at the firm’s purpose-built facility in Gisborne, and distributed nationally by CDC Pharmaceuticals, sales from the product will be the first revenue for the business, which listed on the NZX in 2020.

Rua Bioscience CEO Rob Mitchell

CEO Rob Mitchell said the launch, complemented by New Zealand’s first compassionate access program for medicinal cannabis, was a milestone for the company and the community it serves.

He added: “I am proud that we have been able to work through the medical regulatory system and establish the capability we need to manufacture medicine to world-class GMP standards. It doesn’t just put us on the ladder, it puts us on the map.”

Rua’s mission to benefit its founding community has also seen it launch a compassionate access program for medicinal cannabis products.

Under the scheme, its medicines are available at no cost to a limited group of qualifying people in Te Tairāwhiti (the Gisborne region), dependent on clinical need and circumstance.

Chief commercial officer Dr Andi Grant said cost remains a significant barrier to access for patients.

“We view this as a meaningful and commercially sustainable way to help some of those most in need [to] access the medicine,” Dr Grant added.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...