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MedCan 2021 central as cannabis industry poised to enter local market

"With over $100 million invested so far in New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis industry, 2021 is our year to shine,” says Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ and MedCan Summit 2021 organiser.

Academics, researchers, government officials, doctors, businesspeople, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators, growers, and patients cannot afford to miss October’s MedCan Summit 2021. It marks the sunrise industry’s true starting line, as local producers are taking positive steps towards being in market, says BioTechNZ.

Registrations of interest are open for New Zealand’s second year of the medicinal cannabis summit at Auckland’s Cordis hotel. Building on the success of last year’s sold-out inaugural event, MedCan 2021 will take place on 12 and 13 October. Attendees can attend in person or digitally.

“MedCan 2021 will help local companies accelerate their path to market through valuable insights to exporting, innovation and education. We’ll present the latest medical and scientific findings and breakthrough technologies, and we’ll explore the current challenges and opportunities around the likes of investment, agritech, pharma manufacturing, and clinical trials,” says Dr Champion.

Connecting, science, medicine, industry, and technology for a new frontier of care, the two-day summit will feature leading international and national thought leaders. Areas covered will also include seed to sale, clinical trials, prescribing, patient case studies, as well as the social, cultural and economic benefits to New Zealand.

Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTech New Zealand

Hosted by NZTech, in association with BioTechNZ, MedCan 2021 comes as many Kiwi patients are eager for the country’s newest industry to replace expensive, and often inaccessible, imported products.

“Local companies have been plugging away for three years now and have invested heavily. It has been a costly entrepreneurial endeavour, but Kiwi companies are on the precipice of market entry which is great news for suffering patients here and abroad,” says Dr Champion.

Dr Champion says MedCan 2021 will assess the highs and lows of 2020/21, learnings, local and global trends, and new areas of growth for 2022 and beyond.

“Over the past year there has been significant growth within local companies, both in terms of investment and employment, which is all creating a stronger pharmaceutical industry. MedCan 2021 will explore what our companies are doing and where the big opportunities are for New Zealand.”

MedCan Summit's Advisory Committee has been working hard on developing this year’s programme, with some exciting international speakers already secured. The finalised programme and confirmed speakers will be announced in July.

Again, there will be a specific stream for healthcare professionals, with organisers keen for more GPs to attend given they’re critical to patient access. A full day’s programme for doctors will provide essential updates and information on prescribing medicinal cannabis.

Dr Champion says there has been strong interest from exhibitors this year, with available space filling up fast. Attendees will have two days to connect with exhibitors across the spectrum of cultivation, manufacturing, as well as an array of supporting products and services to the industry.

MedCan’s foundation sponsor, Helius Therapeutics, is delighted to again support the two-day summit. It says, importantly, the summit will also enable greater knowledge of a new plant pathogen recently registered in New Zealand which has the potential to significantly stunt both potency and yield in cannabis cultivars.

“I’ve been really enthused by the recent industry collaboration on the Hop Latent Viroid (HLVd) prevention initiated by Helius together with Plant & Food Research and BioLumic. MedCan 2021 will be a great way to continue the dialogue, experience and ideas on how to protect and grow our industry now and in future,” says Carmen Doran, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics.

Helius' state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and medicines manufacturing facility in East Tamaki, Auckland

Dr Champion says it’s critical the summit formally presents on the highly transmissible HLVd. Its early discovery, considerable local research, and greater sector-wide collaboration will undoubtedly protect New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis sector going forward.

“This is shaping up to be two intensive days of industry, science and medical. Our goal is to ensure all MedCan attendees come away with a comprehensive understanding about all that lies ahead and how we can best maximise this exciting sector’s success,” says Dr Zahra Champion.

For more information on the summit, please email or visit the official website.

MedCan Summit 2021 is organised by NZTech and BioTechNZ – a not for profit, membership-funded organisation with the goal of maximising New Zealand’s bioscience and technology capability to create a strong New Zealand bioeconomy. BioTechNZ is part of the New Zealand Tech Alliance.

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