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Medlab gets TGA nod to import marijuana

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016 Trevor Chappell

Medlab Clinical is now licensed to import medicinal marijuana into Australia, which the biotech says is a critical step towards starting a clinical trial on using cannabis to manage pain in cancer patients.

Medlab will import a liquid cannabis blend from Canadian medicinal marijuana producer Aphria Inc, after receiving the Therapeutic Goods Administration licence.

Managing director Sean Hall says the TGA approval is a significant milestone for Medlab.

"With the TGA approval and this being advised to Royal North Shore Hospital, we are entering the final stages of meeting requirements for ethics approval for the clinical trial," Mr Hall said on Thursday.

"Ethics approval and ultimate issue of a clinical trial number from TGA are final pre-requisites for the trial to begin.

"But, with cannabis import approval achieved, indications are the trial should begin earlier than previously indicated, and hopefully this year."

Medlab says 64 per cent of patients with metastatic cancer (cancer that spreads from the original site to other parts of the body) or advanced stage cancer suffer pain, and for one in two patients, the pain is under-treated.

The cannabis trial at Royal North Shore Hospital will use a formulation of two cannabis extracts: CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

The formulation, called Nanabis, will be administered to patients via a mouth spray, allowing its rapid release and absorption.

Medlab shares were one cent higher at 65 cents at 1055 AEDT.

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