Journey and Value Chain
in New Zeland
Find out how Helius became the first GMP certified medicinal cannabis company in New Zealand. The country where the legislation to enable a medicinal cannabis industry was just recently passed.
There are always challenges to the first-mover advantage. That's what Carmen Doran, CEO at Helius Therapeutics, talks about in this free Scilife webinar session!
Can you develop preventive healthcare?
Preventative healthcare is an exciting topic and one that requires a holistic approach, I can see medicinal cannabis as a great support in this area.
Is Helius using machine learning, big data, blockchain, and, in general, technology and automatization to have a technological base? How do you think that could be used in the cannabis industry?
Like all industries, we have a strong technology base. Our highly controlled and automated indoor cultivation facility is a good example of this and as an engineer myself, I can see plenty of opportunities to continue developing our capabilities in this area
Who is the company that offers this type of GMP certification? And where is it?
Helius GMP license to manufacture medicines is issued by Medsafe, which is one of the departments of the New Zealand (NZ) Ministry of Health. The NZ GMP license is mutually recognized as EU-GMP into Europe, but also into several other countries around the world.
What are your thoughts about using medicinal cannabis and its probable addiction effects afterward?
I would probably defer most of those questions to a healthcare professional to answer. However, I think one of the key things is looking into the use of the CBD versus the THC because it is the psychoactive part in the THC that people get potentially addicted to. When you take that together with CBD, the CBD neutralizes some of those psychoactive benefits.
So, it really is about using the right medicine for the right thing, and you'll see that we have a very much focus on cannabis as a medicine rather than as a recreational product.
Cannabis has been used a lot to overcome, for example, the opioid crisis in the US so to take people away from much more addictive products.
Do you have an engineering program at Helius to produce ideal phenotypes with desired concentration or ratio of specific actives?
We do. At Helius we have a breeding and genetics program. Where we're looking at targeting specific cannabinoids or cannabinoid profiles on the genetic, we also target several other things around, for example, pest resistance in the plant, as well as some of the yield and potency attributes that we're looking for.
We have some research partnerships there as well. That's an area of research for us at Helius.
Have you received invitations from the big pharmaceutical companies to get to know your product or not yet?
We're probably a bit early at Helius, but we're seeing several pharmaceutical companies entering into this market through either partnerships or acquisitions. And I think that will continue.
Do you consider that your product can somehow affect the current pharmaceutical market?
I don't see it as a competing thing, I guess because I come from a pharmaceutical background. I'm very much of the idea that you should be working with your healthcare professional to have the right medicine for you. I think that learning about medicinal cannabis supports the different approaches that people are taking in medicine.
I think that we're seeing some of the disruption of the pharmaceutical market, not necessarily from medicinal cannabis, but around natural health, and people are also understanding a lot more our overall whole-body wellness, compared to a traditional symptom and prescription approach.
What is the opinion of the OMS and normal medicine about your products?
Under the World Health Organization, what has been required is countries around the world that are going to legalize medicinal cannabis, to have their own medicinal cannabis scheme that sits separately from their other medicines scheme. So, there is a consideration for this and their approach.