MS Australia backs new bid to list Sativex on PBS

Australian pharmaceutical firm Emerge Health has confirmed its ambition to get Sativex listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme “as soon as possible”.

Sativex, the trade name for nabiximols, a CBD medicine administered in the treatment of moderate-to-severe spasticity in MS patients, is currently the only medicinal cannabis product included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), having been registered in 2012.

An application for the drug to be subsidised was knocked back by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in March, but the sponsors, Emerge Health, told Cannabiz it would try again.

“We are working with the PBAC to secure an approval and PBS listing as soon as possible,” the company said.

MS Australia chief executive Deirdre Mackechnie said it would be fully supportive of any fresh application.

“We were disappointed with the outcome [of the March PBAC meeting] and will be supporting another submission,” she said. “The frustrating thing for a number of patients is that Sativex does work but the uptake is pretty low, and that’s mainly due to cost.

“Where Sativex is perhaps the only medicine that works that is enormously frustrating. We are now in the process of seeing how we can improve on that submission.”


Medlab Clinical appoints industry leader to board

Medlab Clinical has appointed Laurence McAllister, CEO of global health and wellness company McPherson’s, as an independent non-executive director.

McAllister was previously managing director of Sanofi in Australia and New Zealand, where he successfully led the company’s consumer healthcare business. During his tenure at Sanofi he also served on the Board of Medicines Australia for two years.


Zelira completes $8.75m capital raising to accelerate product roll out

Zelira Therapeutics will accelerate plans to launch more products into global markets after raising almost $9m from new and existing investors.

The capital raising, which saw 175m shares on offer at $0.05c per share, brings the firm’s cash position to around $10.35m. Investors in Australia and US participated in the placement.

Chief executive Richard Hopkins said the cash will help fund the launch of “multiple” products and advance clinical programmes. Zelira told the market in late July it was on course to launch its insomnia product, Zenivol, and Hope, for autism, in Australia by the end of September.


MGC Pharma in trading halt ahead of test results for ArtemiC

MGC Pharma is in a trading halt pending pre-clinical test results of its anti-inflamatory formulation ArtermiC, which targets viral infections.

The company recently joined a global Covid-19 World Health Organisation (WHO) taskforce to map and assess research and clinical trials aimed at halting the pandemic.

The trading halt will remain in place until start of trading on Friday (August 7), or when an announcement is made to the market.

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