Privately-owned medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, has raised a further $15m in funding, led by its existing investor group. This latest round takes the total capital invested in Helius to $48m.
Helius chairman, Guy Haddleton, says the company's focus is on building a large-scale, integrated pharmaceuticals business in New Zealand to serve patients here and around the world with safe and efficacious cannabis medicines.
“Helius has been on an extraordinary journey since it’s inception in 2018. We’ve built a strong team and a world-class facility, while playing an important role in the formation of New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis sector. Our priority is to now build Helius into a globally-competitive pharmaceuticals company.”
“We will continue to drive investment in this high-potential company, within this exciting sunrise sector. Without question, unlocking the opportunities in this multi-billion dollar export industry demands substantial funding. To achieve this, I see the investment in Helius lifting to $75m-$100m over time,” says Mr Haddleton.
Helius is already one of Australasia’s largest medicinal cannabis organisations. Last year the company secured a new commercial Medicinal Cannabis Licence to cultivate and process active cannabis ingredients. It has also completed construction of it 8,800sqm $22m cannabis cultivation, processing and manufacturing facility in East Tamaki.
This year the company is moving into the commercial manufacturing and distribution of cannabis-based medicines, and the research and development of novel products to improve quality of life. As this phase in the company’s development requires deep domain expertise in pharmaceuticals, the company has also re-organised its leadership.
Carmen Doran, who has extensive leadership and consulting experience in the pharmaceuticals industry, has been appointed as the company’s CEO. Ms Doran has previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer at Helius, building the operational team and systems. She will take over from Helius’ co-founder, Paul Manning, this month.
“Carmen has the ideal breadth and depth of experience in the medicines sectors to lead Helius through this next, exciting phase. I’m incredibly proud of the company we’ve built over the last two and a half years, and our contribution to the industry. It’s the right time for me to make this change and I’m very pleased to be handing over the reins to Carmen – she is an exceptional leader with the specialised skills the company needs to move forward in this complex sector,” says Mr Manning.
Ms Doran is a New Zealander with over 15-years’ experience in the global pharmaceuticals and animal health industry, with 10-years in Novartis Pharmaceuticals and then consulting since 2014 before joining Helius as COO in early 2019. During her time at Novartis she held both country and global leadership roles across operations, engineering and strategy.
Ms Doran holds a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Canterbury.
Paul Manning, a former EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year who co-founded Helius Therapeutics in 2018, remains as a shareholder and advisor to the organisation.
“After four years of stunning entrepreneurship as an ambitious start-up led by Paul Manning, we are now moving to our next phase. Our focus shifts to manufacturing pharmaceuticals and bringing commercial products to market from next year,” says Mr Haddleton, Chairman of Helius Therapeutics.