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Malta-Based Medicinal Cannabis Company Pivots To COVID-19 Treatment After €3 Million Cash Grant

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An Australian company that was set to be growing and producing medicinal cannabis by mid-2020 has been granted a €3.1 million cash grant by Malta Enterprise to set up a “fully functional GMP facility” for the production of a COVID-19 anti-inflammatory product.

MGC Pharma had announced that they’d begin cultivating cannabis on Maltese soil by mid-2020 following an agreement with Malta Enterprise, with a focus on dementia, epilepsy and cancer.

However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are now working on building a facility to develop a liquid dose of medicine that they say is effective on COVID-19 patients.

“We have yet to begin cultivating in Malta for several reasons, but view our commitment and relationship with the island as a cornerstone of our global activity, as evidenced by our Ħal Far facility,” Ron Lipsky, Vice-President of MGC Pharma, told Lovin Malta.

“Currently,” he continued, “we will focus our energies on Facility 1 and ensure we have the ability to fulfil the demand for ArtemiC, first on the island of Malta and then globally – and we have offered the product to the island, and are awaiting a response from the Ministry of Health. And then we will move on to Facility 2 where our Cannabis Activities will be focused.”

The company expects to eventually produce 10,000 liquid dose medicines per day.

Construction of the extension to the current MXC Malta facility has commenced and is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

However, MGC says it hasn’t switched focus from cannabis to COVID-19.

“No, I wouldn’t say that,” Lipsky said. “We are as focused as ever on our Phytocannabinoid products, but given the global crisis and need, this seems like the correct sequence to pursue. We are still providing medicine to patients in Australia, UK, Brazil and soon Ireland. ArtemiC is an additional product with a more immediate need, but our clinical agenda and position as a leading phytopharma company remains firm.”

Kurt Farrugia, CEO of Malta Enterprise, said they are “very proud” of MGC Pharma’s work in Malta.

“Malta Enterprise has been working closely with MGC Pharma Ltd, for almost two years now. We are very proud that their activities in Malta, will now also involve the production of ArtemiC, a treatment whose effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus is currently being scientifically and clinically proven. The production of ArtemiCTM in Malta, will continue to strengthen our position as the ideal hub for advanced manufacturing and scientific development, and Malta Enterprise, as a strategic partner for anyone seriously interested in investing in Malta.”

Lovin Malta had spoken to MGC Pharma founder Nativ Segev about his company’s plans as they signed an agreement with Malta Enterprise in 2019 – watch it below. 

What do you make of this new path for the company?

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