Andrew Forrest tips $5 million into medicinal cannabis company
Andrew Forrest is the latest billionaire to enter the medicinal cannabis arena with a $5 million share placement by his family’s investment arm Tattarang into Perth-based health technology company Emyria.
Dr Forrest’s foray into medicinal cannabis comes a few months after fellow iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart put $15 million behind the European expansion of another player, Little Green Pharma, in the growing sector.
Andrew Forrest’s family investment arm Tattarang has put $5 million behind a Perth company in the medicinal cannabis industry. CREDIT: DOMINIC LORRIMER
Emyria was listed on the ASX last year, just before Australia was plunged into the global COVID-19 pandemic, and has been progressing with trials of a synthetic cannabinoid targeting mental health which it hopes to have registered domestically and in the American market.
The small company has seven patient-treating clinics around Australia which it uses to progress the development and registration of new drugs. Emyria managing director Michael Winlo said the company has treated more than 400 people through its cannabinoid program and was preparing for an MDMA trial next year to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dr Winlo said the Therapeutic Goods Administration was set to make a decision next month on whether MDMA would be reclassified from a schedule nine drug – which are prohibited substances – down to a controlled drug as a schedule eight.
“In light of the evidence and the growing recognition of major mental health disorders and the need for more treatment options. I think there will be a very persuasive argument in front of the TGA,” he said.
Dr Winlo said a MDMA clinical trial would be able to go ahead regardless of the TGA’s decision.
Tattarang chief investment officer John Hartman said the investment by Emyria into “industry-leading” data collection would allow it to innovate faster than other companies and bring online new treatments quickly and cost-effectively.
“We believe evidence-based, and properly registered, medicinal cannabis and novel psychedelic treatments have massive growth potential across global healthcare jurisdictions,” he said.
“Emyria’s data-driven approach positions it strongly to lead the accelerated development and registration of new treatment options that can potentially benefit millions of patients.”
The investment by Tattarang has seen it take a 7 per cent share in Emyria.
Dr Winlo said it was great to have a long-term thinking and supportive investor which would bring a lot more than just funds to Emyria’s story. There has been a concerted lobbying push in the past few years to reclassify psychedelic drugs psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, and MDMA, found in ecstasy, to be used in clinical settings.
Former federal trade minister Andrew Robb has been one of the leading voices for change through his board role on Mind Medicine Australia. The TGA made an interim decision in February not to reclassify psilocybin and MDMA. Originally published here: https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/andrew-forrest-tips-5-million-into-medicinal-cannabis-company-20211122-p59b15.html