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Carmen Doran, Helius Therapeutics:

NZ: "The medical cannabis industry has seen substantial growth in 2023"

"As we reflect on the year 2023, it's clear that our company has made significant strides in the medicinal cannabis industry, both in New Zealand and globally. Our achievements have been underpinned by a growing confidence in the industry, driven by regulatory changes, market growth, and our commitment to patients, delivery, collaboration, and quality," says Carmen Doran, CEO of Helius Therapeutics.

Carmen Doran winning the Inspring Women Leaders Award at the New Zealand International Business Awards 2023

Industry growth and confidence
According to Carmen, the medicinal cannabis industry has seen substantial growth in 2023. "The global medicinal cannabis market is expected to be worth $65 billion by 2025, and the medicinal cannabis market has doubled from 60,000 packs prescribed in 2022 to an expected over 130,000 packs prescribed in 2023."

"This growth has been accompanied by increasing confidence in the industry. Wall Street projected the industry's value to reach $100 billion by 2030. In New Zealand, the government approved changes to the medicinal cannabis scheme, expected to make it cheaper for patients through increased export scale and allow a wider range of research to be undertaken locally," Carmen says.

Carmen explains that Helius Therapeutics has been at the forefront of this industry growth and confidence. "In 2021, Helius was the first NZ medicinal cannabis company to achieve the GMP license to manufacture medicine and the first to brink locally made products to market. In 2022, the company became the first in New Zealand to launch NZ grown, NZ made CBD and THC containing medicines. In 2023, Helius extended its GMP licence to include flower, in addition to oral solutions and active ingredients already on the certificate."

The company's commitment to research and collaboration has been a key driver of its success, Carmen says. "Helius has formed partnerships with Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Auckland University Business School, the University of Canterbury’s Engineering Faculty, and Puro New Zealand, our country’s largest cultivator. In September, the company also announced a global partnership with dried flower supplier Schroll Medical in Denmark."

In June 2023, Pro New Zealand and Helius won the Industry Collaboration Award at the 2023 Australasian Cannabis Awards, which recognize a maturing of the New Zealand medical cannabis industry.

Helius' CEO, Carmen Doran, has also been an international guest speaker at several conferences, including the Cannabis Business Expo in Germany and the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin and another later in the year in Slovenia. These appearances have helped to raise the company's profile and share its expertise on a global stage, according to Carmen.

On top of all that, in November this year, Carmen Doran won the Inspiring Woman Leaders Category at the New Zealand International Business Awards.

Looking ahead
"Looking ahead, Helius is well-positioned to continue its growth and contribute to the increasing confidence in the medicinal cannabis industry," Carmen says. "The company's commitment to research, collaboration, and quality, combined with favorable market trends and regulatory changes, suggest a bright future for Helius and the wider industry."

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