Medical marijuana acceptance in Europe can fuel U.S. expansion, says Cannabis Science CEO
Cannabis Science Inc., a Colorado Springs company, wants to boost the cannabis-based pharmaceutical industry in the United States. But rather than focusing solely on investors in America, the firm is putting a big emphasis on Europe.
Right now, according to president and CEO Dr. Robert Melamede, CSI is raising working capital across the pond, as well as seeking listings on exchanges in Frankfurt and other European locales.
"We're using the European markets to raise money," Melamede says. "Additional moneys are significant to us -- we're always in need of money. And in the bigger picture, what you're seeing in Europe and elsewhere is increasing awareness of the medical benefits of marijuana -- not nearly to the extent they should be, but nevertheless, we're seeing this continuous march forward."
The pace of this movement is faster in Europe for historical reasons, Melamede believes.
"My mom is German, and I've been there many times -- and I think Europeans have more of a connection to herbal remedies than we do here in the States," he maintains. "We're really become overly pharmaceuticalized to the exclusion of herbal remedies, whereas over there, I think herbal remedies play a more significant role. And the latest science supports these conclusions."
That's a matter of debate. While Melamede cites "thousands of peer-reviewed articles" that provide evidence of cannabis's medical usefulness, other medical professionals see a lack of standardized scientific studies establishing its efficacy -- including Colorado's chief medical officer, Dr. Ned Calonge.
In a wide-ranging interview with Westword last week, Calonge said additions to the list of conditions that can be treated by medical marijuana in Colorado shouldn't be made in the absence of scientifically viable human studies. Indeed, the state's health department actively lobbied against the inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder as a treatable MMJ condition earlier this year due to the dearth of such information relating to PTSD, in the opinion of department representatives like Calonge.
This logic astonishes Melamede. "Cannabis Science did a study of 1,500 veterans, 300 of whom qualified as PTSD patients, and they all agreed that cannabis was the most effective medicine for them," he says. "True, it hasn't gone through FDA-level human trials. But what you have to do is be willing to look at the people who've fought for our freedom. Why would you default to a position that negates what they're saying? You trusted them enough to fight for your freedom. Why don't you trust them to believe what they're telling us -- that a drug that's been used for thousands of years and has no known lethal dose actually helps them?"
By the way, Melamede hadn't heard that Calonge plans to leave the health department in November for a new position with The Colorado Trust. "That's good news," he says, categorizing Calonge as a "cannabis opponent."
Regarding the capital fundraising and listing on European exchanges, Melamede says, "All of these things are in the works and lined up and look very, very positive. At this point, I fully expect to accomplish these aims in the very near future -- well before the end of the year."
He adds, "What we're seeing is a global revolution that's going to end this insane prohibition against cannabis in this country. Who in their right mind would outlaw an anti-aging drug that kills cancer cells and uses the same activity that's found in mother's milk?"
Page down to read Cannabis Science's release about its European mission:
Cannabis Science Raising Working Capital and Entering European Medical Cannabis Market With Expanded Opportunity Among Europe's 500 Million Citizens Following German Approval
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug 30, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Cannabis Science Inc. /quotes/comstock/11k!cbis.e (CBIS 0.05, +0.00, +3.65%) ("Cannabis Science, CBIS, or Company"), a pioneering US biotech company developing pharmaceutical cannabis products, is pleased to announce that the Company is currently raising working capital in the European market and pursuing listings on the Frankfurt and other major European exchanges.
Cannabis Science is vigorously seeking entry into the European medical cannabis market on the footsteps of GW Pharmaceuticals plc (GWPharm.com), a UK based commercial cannabinoid pharmaceutical company, which paved the way with the introduction and approval of its product, Sativex(R) in the UK and now Spain, which gave its regulatory approval on July 28, 2010. Currently Sativex(R) is approved in the UK and Spain as a prescription medicine for treatment of MS spasticity and in Canada for relief of neuropathic pain and advanced cancer pain.
In total, the medicine has been exported to 28 countries for either named patient prescription use or for clinical trial purposes. FDA clinical trials are currently in progress in the U.S. for administering Sativex(R) as an adjunctive analgesic treatment for cancer. GW has raised working capital of over $90 million through the public markets. In addition, GW has received signature licensing and milestone payments for prescription cannabinoid medicines and clinical trials totaling over $60 million to date, with over $365 million in future milestone payments slates plus effective royalties of 20-30%. In June 2010, GW received a valuation of over $300 million (POUND158m) 1 based on its single Sativex(R) product.
1 See: Edison Investment Research report, June 3, 2010, http://gwpharma.co.uk/uploads/gwpharma030610review.pdf
CBIS is working toward regulatory approval of its proprietary medical cannabis products and delivery methods and will seek European Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) to get marketing authorization for all European member states, in addition to UK regulatory approval through the Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The Company expects rapidly developing opportunities for the over 500 million citizens in Europe, following the report that the German health ministry has announced plans to legalize medical use of marijuana. Cannabis Science will seek licensing partners to realize value and take its multiple medical cannabinoid products and delivery methods to market upon entering clinical trial phases and regulatory approvals.
Cannabis Science President and CEO Dr. Robert Melamede, PhD., noted, "Germany's actions are expected to speed up the official recognition of the medical value of cannabis by other European countries, especially those who had been ahead of the Germans regarding acceptance of medical marijuana (Spain, Finland, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic). Of course, the Dutch have led the way. Last December, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Dutch Cannabis Bureau, besides supplying cannabis to all the pharmacies in the Netherlands, also supplies Italy, Finland and Germany through the Ministry of Health of each country. The Bureau sells around 100 kilos (220 pounds) of marijuana per year to other countries. Of course, that is a tiny fraction of what is needed in the European Union with a population of over 500 million."
Richard Cowan, Cannabis Science CFO, added, "Spain already has a limited medical cannabis program, and its approval of GW Pharmaceutical's whole cannabis extract (Sativex(R)) should open the way to more such products, as well as whole cannabis derivatives in other forms. Last December's Journal article quoted Brendan Hughes, senior legal analyst of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon, as saying, "I can imagine European citizens will eventually think cannabis is a good medicine and that it should be accessible to people who suffer from serious pain as a result of HIV, multiple sclerosis or other grave illnesses." He has been prophetic, but things are now moving faster than anyone expected. Of course, it will never be fast enough for those who urgently need medical cannabis today. Consequently, Cannabis Science will be an advocate for both science and the rights of the patients in Europe as it has been in America."
About Cannabis Science, Inc.
Cannabis Science, Inc. is at the forefront of medical marijuana research and development. The Company works with world authorities on phytocannabinoid science targeting critical illnesses, and adheres to scientific methodologies to develop, produce, and commercialize phytocannabinoid-based pharmaceutical products. In sum, we are dedicated to the creation of cannabis-based medicines, both with and without psychoactive properties, to treat disease and the symptoms of disease, as well as for general health maintenance.
This Press Release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange of 1934. A statement containing words such as "anticipate," "seek," intend," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "project," "plan," or similar phrases may be deemed "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Some or all of the events or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements may not occur. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the future U.S. and global economies, the impact of competition, and the Company's reliance on existing regulations regarding the use and development of cannabis-based drugs. Cannabis Science, Inc. does not undertake any duty nor does it intend to update the results of these forward-looking statements.
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