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Grower to supply pharmaceutical-grade cannabis for FDA trials

Akanda will supply Tetra Bio-Pharma with pharmaceutical grade cannabis flower in a microdose cap form, for use in a Storz & Bickel Mighty Medic Vaporizer for global commercialization of Tetra's QIXLEEFTM and related products. In addition, Akanda will act as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) for Tetra's clinical drug and commercial supply programs. With this project, Akanda becomes a CDMO in addition to being an EU GMP cannabis manufacturer, marking Akanda's first entry into cannabinoid drug development, which is a new and growing market opportunity for the company, while Tetra secures a stable supply of high-quality ingredients and regulatory-approved services to satisfy clinical trials and commercialization.

Product and services from Akanda's EU GMP Holigen facility will be utilized in this trial. (CNW Group/Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc)

QIXLEEF is a proprietary botanical inhaled investigational new drug currently being studied in two U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized clinical trials: 1) REBORN, a Phase 2 study authorized by the FDA to evaluate inhaled cannabinoids against a class of immediate-release oral opioids for the management of breakthrough cancer pain, and 2) PLENITUDE, a Phase 2 multicenter clinical trial authorized by the FDA to evaluate the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabinoids to relieve uncontrolled pain in patients with advanced cancer. The companies estimate the total addressable market (TAM) for QIXLEEF to be nearly $1.7 billion by 20281.

Under the multi-year agreement, Akanda will supply Tetra with high-quality, premium THC and CBD flower, and will provide regulatory, quality and pharmaceutical manufacturing services for the QIXLEEFTM clinical drug development and marketing authorization from its Portugal operations. The supply of the active pharmaceutical ingredient starts in [the third quarter of] 2022 and is anticipated to increase incrementally over the succeeding years based on growing demand and commercializing of Tetra's cannabinoid-derived medicines.

Akanda will provide Tetra with a range of services, including regulatory affairs, quality control and stability testing through Akanda's internal lab, as well as manufacturing capabilities. Upon FDA approval, the anticipated supply commitments could reach over 10 metric tonnes per year.

QIXLEEFTM product has been designed specifically for use in the Storz & Bickel Mighty Medic Vaporizer, the first medically approved portable cannabis vape, pictured here with dosing capsules filled at Holigen. (CNW Group/Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc.) 

Tetra, a leader in drug discovery and development for cannabinoid-based medicines, is focusing on therapeutic areas of inflammation, pain, ophthalmology and oncology through a robust pipeline using multiple delivery systems.

"This supply agreement with Tetra is a major milestone in Akanda's journey in becoming a cannabis platform company serving all regulated markets in the EMEA region," commented Tej Virk, CEO of Akanda. "In supporting a terrific partner with a mission to improve patient health and quality of life though cannabinoid-derived medicine, we are demonstrating that cannabis can fit into the traditional public sector model, with the expectation of reimbursement. Simultaneously, we are productively utilizing our diverse capabilities to support clinical trials for pharma grade cannabinoids. If approved, we expect to provide flower for the authorized compound, potentially creating a significant, incremental revenue stream for Akanda. This opportunity could only have been possible with our state-of-the-art facilities that we gained through the acquisition of Holigen in May."

"This collaboration transitions our Sintra facility into a global CDMO for cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals as we build up our internal laboratory capacity and manufacturing under EU GMP," commented Dr. Akkar-Schenkl, President of Akanda. "Together with Tetra we are aiming to become the ambassadors for cancer pain treatment. The pharmaceutical grade flower and the level of pharmaceutical excellence in manufacturing, quality operations and regulatory affairs we will be providing into these projects is our fundamental commitment to worldwide palliative care in pain treatment in the field of oncology. The bioburden quality of the flower we will be providing for this delicate patient population can only be managed under stringent manufacturing conditions, special regulatory and pharmaceutical know-how."

"Tetra has been looking for quite a while to find a Global strategic CDMO partner, and we believe that Akanda is a perfect fit from a vision standpoint. This partnership will allow Tetra to secure a robust and trustable source for its clinical drug supply and for QIXLEEF™ commercialization plans. Aside from quality, Akanda will rapidly automate our process and increase our capacity, resulting in a 67% reduction of our cost of goods sold (COGS)," commented Guy Chamberland, M.Sc., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Chief Regulatory Officer at Tetra. "Establishing a defined source of high-quality ingredients is important for Tetra, and we are excited to advance a productive collaboration with Akanda as we advance target drugs through the regulatory process."

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