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Avida Global enters the UK medical cannabis market with acquisition of BCM Specials

Avida Global has announced the acquisition of Nottingham-based BCM Specials, the longest-established Specials manufacturer in the UK owned by Fareva. The new company, Avida Medical, will manufacture and distribute medicinal cannabis products in the UK in addition to servicing the existing Specials business. Avida Medical will remain in the D10 Building, Thane Road, Beeston, before relocating to a new site in Nottingham later next year. The acquisition makes Avida Global the only full-service UK cannabis business licensed to operate in the heavily regulated medical, wellness, and cosmetics space.

Avida Medical will be headed up by Paul Parkinson, Chief Operations Officer, MD, and Head of UK Operations at Avida Global. Neil Bashforth, General Manager at BCM Specials, will assume the role of Managing Director at Avida Medical.

Earlier this month, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published new guidance setting out the authorizations required to manufacture unlicensed cannabis-based medicines in the UK. The guidance, the most significant step in the industry since medical cannabis was legalized in 2018, was welcomed, with many saying transparency will encourage investment and lay the groundwork for a healthy domestic medicinal cannabis industry in the UK.

This acquisition gives Avida Global the accreditation and complete set of licenses required to import, manufacture and distribute medicinal cannabis products in the UK for the human and veterinary market, thereby surpassing this lengthy, complicated and costly process.

The UK is home to one of the largest patient populations using cannabis in Europe. To date, approx. Twenty thousand people have been prescribed medical cannabis for a range of conditions, including chronic pain, depression, insomnia, and Parkinson's, with this figure set to grow exponentially over the next two years. A recent poll suggests that approx. 1.8mn people with diagnosed medical conditions are turning to obtain cannabis illegally to manage their illnesses, many due to a lack of awareness that cannabis can be prescribed legally.

According to recent data, there were approx. A total of 23,466 privately prescribed unlicensed medical cannabis items were dispensed in 2021, which represents a 425% increase in 2020. Despite cannabis being legalized for medicinal use in 2018, only three people in the UK have been handed a prescription by the NHS, forcing others to go private or access the drug illegally.

David Kirby, Chief Executive Officer at Avida Global, commented, "This transformative acquisition is incredibly exciting and gives us extraordinary potential as a business, giving us immediate access to the UK medical cannabis market, home to one of the largest patient populations using cannabis in Europe. We are already seeing substantial interest from clients as a result of this game-changing acquisition which makes Avida Global the only full-service UK cannabis business in the medical, wellness, and cosmetics space."

"Our primary driver has always been to bring quality to life, and we are committed to supplying the highest quality products, working with partners to create new innovative cannabis-based medicines, and helping to improve patient access."

Medical cannabis falls under the Specials or unlicensed medicines category, which refers to medicines manufactured or procured specifically to meet the special clinical needs of an individual patient. Any company looking to operate within this space needs to hold specific licenses and be approved by the MHRA and VMD7. Avida Medical will continue to manufacture non-cannabis product formulations for the Specials market in a wide range of dosage forms (e.g., oral liquids, creams, ointments, capsules, eye drops, etc.).

For more information:
Avida Global


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