Mining industry billionaire Andrew Forrest recently recognized the potential of the burgeoning cannabis industry by taking a $5 million stake in a Perth-based health technology company Emyria (ASX: EMD), which focuses on new marijuana and psychedelic treatment.
By investing $5 million via his family’s investment arm, Tattarang, and taking a 7% share in Emyria, Forrest is joining the small but growing group of billionaires already in the cannabis space. The move comes several months after another iron ore mogul, Gina Rinehart invested $15 million in a cannabis company – Little Green Pharma (OTCPK: LGPPF), writes The Sidney Morning Herald.
The publicly traded Emyria has been working on trials of synthetic cannabinoids for the treatment of various mental health conditions. It is a small company with seven patient-treating clinics around Australia, where it works on the development and registration of new drugs.
According to the company’s managing director, Michael Winlo, Emyria has already treated more than 400 patients via this cannabinoid program and is getting ready for an MDMA trial next year to address the effects of PTSD.
MDMA – also known by its street names ecstasy or molly – is a synthetic drug that acts as a stimulant and hallucinogen. This scheduled substance is often said to present a plethora of possibilities in the treatment of neurological and psychological disorders.
Just last week, the Australian state of Victoria was involved in a seminal lawsuit seeking to make MDMA available for severe mental illness. Attempting to secure permission to treat a gravely ill patient using MDMA, psychiatrist Dr. Eli Kotler initiated legal action against the Victorian Department of Health after his application for treatment was denied.
The medicine and therapeutic regulatory agency of the Australian Government, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, is expected to decide next month whether MDMA should be reclassified from a schedule nine drug – which are prohibited substances – down to a controlled schedule eight drug, reported the outlet.
“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,” Winlo said, adding that an MDMA clinical trial could go through even without the TGA’s reclassification.
Tattarang chief investment officer John Hartman noted that the investment by Emyria into “industry-leading” data collection would enable the company to accelerate its innovation process and to present 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,” Hartman 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.”