UK-based company selling breakthrough cannabis-based medicines now supplying the US

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Cannabis Pharmacology Active ingredient MRHA Celadon Pharmaceuticals

UK based Celadon Pharmaceuticals Plc, that specializes in the development, production, and sale of breakthrough cannabis-based medicines, announced that it has begun shipping to the US.

Following the signing of an introductory sales contract with a long-established American business, Celadon has successfully shipped two different medical cannabis products across the pond. This shipment represents the company’s first international commercial supply. The American business is a supplier to various US government departments, and this initial sale has the potential to grow into a substantial source of additional revenue. The product was supplied from the Company’s UK facility.

Following the announcement of Celadon’s first European supply contract in November 2023, which has a potential contract value of £26 million over three years, today’s announcement highlights the group’s capability to export products. It is a testament to the growing international demand for Celadon’s high-quality, high Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis products.

OSP put some questions to the company’s CEO, James Short, who said the company is delighted to have completed its first international shipment especially as it has been made to the US – the world’s largest pharmaceutical market.

Could you describe the factors enabling Celadon’s first commercial export?

Celadon has been working closely with the Home Office and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to create workable regulation since legalisation in 2018. The MHRA awarded our facility in the Midlands its Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) registration in January 2023, with the Home Office subsequently removing the restrictions from its licence.  Following these events Celadon has been able to sell its products both domestically and internationally.

By being wholly transparent and laser focused on quality, we have shown that medical cannabis companies can thrive within the current framework. There are millions of patients in the UK who would benefit from medical cannabis. Sadly, many are turning to the black market to source it. But if other companies follow our lead and prioritise rigorous manufacturing processes and stringent quality control measures, there is no reason why there can’t be many businesses like Celadon in the UK, which would be a huge win for the millions of patients in need.

What do you attribute the growing demand to?

The domestic and international demand we are seeing is testament to the superior quality of our product. This quality is underpinned by our proprietary genetics, extraction technology and indoor hydroponic cultivation. By using the most advanced controlled environment cultivation, we are able to achieve the pharmaceutical-level consistency, quality and replicability which is required of us as a fully licenced, GMP-certified company.

The European contract we announced in November 2023 has the potential to generate revenue of up to £26 million over the three-year term, and there is scope to extend the contract for a further two years. The fulfilment of this initial US supply contract demonstrates Celadon’s ability to export product smoothly and successfully and should reassure anyone with concerns about trading internationally.

Following the signing of the £26 million European supply contract, Celadon continues to receive lots of domestic enquiries as well as international ones. While we intend to continue to capitalize on the significant international market opportunities, we feel passionately about developing the UK market.

This requires reliable and high-quality domestic production of pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis, clinical trials to generate the data to support prescriptions by doctors, and research into future breakthrough cannabis-based medicines.

To meet this expected demand, we are building out Phase 2 of our facility. At full capacity, we will be able to service 50,000 patients from our current facility. With 8 million people in the UK alone suffering from chronic pain, we will only be able to serve a fraction of that amount – which is why I am so passionate about other companies also playing their part in delivering high-quality domestically-grown product.

Have you plans to open up the UK market?

The company is determined to generate robust data on the efficacy of medical cannabis products. Our chronic pain trial, CANPAIN, is designed to provide the NHS with data on efficacy and NICE with data to evaluate the case for reimbursement. 

An economic analysis of our initial feasibility study showed an almost 50% reduction in patients’ pain scores and a significant improvement in their quality of life. Now the CANPAIN protocol is fully approved, we look forward to building on this data when we roll out the full, up to 5,000 patient trial.

Critically, as part of the CANPAIN trial we have specific approval for GPs to prescribe the medicine to patients. As we have seen in Australia and Germany, both of which legalised medical cannabis before the UK, GP prescriptions are essential to unlocking the market. Having this as part of our trial is a true UK first and will hopefully provide further evidence of its necessity in serving patients.

There is also the possibility that the CANPAIN framework could be replicated in other countries, which is something we are also exploring.

What about the company’s clinical development programme and R&D?

As well as serving patients through the UK’s current specials framework, Celadon is committed to developing novel cannabis-based medicines that can be taken through clinical trials. This includes the discovery of novel cannabinoid-derived molecules and innovative new delivery technologies.  We also continue to explore treatments for other conditions where we know medical cannabis can be effective.

What’s the long-term vision?

Our mission, and the reason why we founded Celadon was to improve the quality of life for patients and that remains our core focus.

Being located in the UK, we can also provide much needed domestically grown product to UK customers, free from the logistical complexity that arises from importing. Combined with our one-of-its-kind clinical trial, we are confident that the UK can follow the trajectory of Australia and Germany, where medical cannabis is accessible to millions of patients. Our future therefore lies in continuing to open up the UK market, while also developing novel cannabis-based medicines that will further improve treatment and open it up to conditions beyond chronic pain.

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