Khiron Life Sciences (KHRN.V) begins medical cannabis studies with Uruguayan universities

There is a dearth of cannabis-related clinical studies, and Khiron Life Sciences (KHRN.V) is putting in the work to change that.

Today, the company has begun its pre-clinical medical cannabis studies in conjunction with the Universidad de la República of Uruguay and Institut Pasteur de Montevideo for the examination of the plant’s medical applications.

These studies have been approved by the cannabis state regulatory authority of Uruguay (IRCCA) and will centre around the properties of three Khiron cannabis strains targeting “inflammation, oxidative and nervous system disorders,” marking an important milestone as the company moves towards medical registration and sale of its products in Latin America and for export worldwide.

“As we approach our first medical product sales in Colombia this quarter, these studies improve our medical product pipeline in Latin America and around the world, and help us integrate a care model focused on patients who require the management of different pathologies in which medical cannabis can offer a therapeutic alternative.”

–Martha Edith Oyuela, Khiron health vice-president

These studies are co-funded by the National Agency of Innovation and Investigation and will be conducted over an 18-month period beginning today.

The purpose of these studies, as alluded to earlier, is to further the scientific justification for cannabis as an effective medical treatment.

Dormul S.A., a wholly-owned Khiron subsidiary in Uruguay, is collaborating with the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo, a foundation formed between the Uruguayan and French governments for the research of cannabis’ efficacy.

Khiron’s acquisition of Dormul S.A. is part of the company’s “multi-jurisdiction” strategy which will provide the company with up to 120 tonnes of cannabis annually.

Khiron’s LatAm strategy at-large

Much ado has been made about Khiron’s expansion into Brazil. If this is news to you, consider the following:

“As we develop our patient network in Uruguay and into Brazil, joining the Khiron family gives us access to their market-leading expertise and resources, to accelerate our research and development mission, and to deliver medical cannabis products across one of the world’s largest trading blocs. We begin with Uruguay, and export to southern Brazil, and expect to move quickly across the region’s trading countries.”

–Marco Algorta, Dormul S.A.’s founder

As we wrote a month ago, Khiron not only has access to the enormous Brazillian market through Dormul S.A., the recently signed MERCOSUR trade deal now expedites the company’s access to the European medical cannabis market.

One potential roadblock for Khiron or any other cannabis company seeking to export into Brazil is the country’s rightward shift towards regressive drug laws.

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has publicly espoused his support for his Filipino counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte sanctioned an extrajudicial war on drugs and drug users, granting immunity to vigilantes and police who use violence on those suspected of selling or using drugs. It is projected this campaign has led to the deaths of 20,000 Filipinos.

But despite the reactionary views held by Brazil’s leader, the booming cannabis sector could provide the capital injection the nation needs to put its staggering unemployed labour force back to work.

In a 2018 story published by the Financial Post, TD Bank forecast cannabis would add $8 billion to Canada’s economy, and a report from the Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research in the same year found legal cannabis generated $58 million in economic activity for Pueblo County.

Bolsonaro may be staunchly anti-drug, but at the end of the day, money talks and Brazil is getting left behind.


–Ethan Reyes

Full disclosure: Khiron Life Sciences is an marketing client.

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