New Zealand’s Ministry of Health has granted a cannabis cultivation license to Helius Therapeutics – the first license to be issued in Auckland and what will be the largest licensed site in the country.
Helius can now establish a cannabis breeding programme and develop new cannabis plant varieties (chemovars) for use in the research and development of therapeutics. The license also allows the company to cultivate cannabis plants across two large-scale grow sites and nursery within its Auckland property.
Having secured $15m in investment, led by Kiwi tech billionaire Guy Haddleton, Helius sees its license grant as large step in the right direction for New Zealand’s cannabis industry. Helius boats its aim is to be one of the world’s premier medicinal cannabis brands.
Helius has developed two clinical trials which will be conducted in New Zealand and the company has committed to an extensive R&D plan. Early product development will target sleep disorders, anxiety, arthritis and chronic pain. The company has formed relationships with local and international research institutes and is set to open its own cannabinoid research laboratory in 2019.
Helius acquires additional 10,000sqm greenhouse in Auckland
Helius also announced acquisition of a 10,000sqm hydroponic greenhouse on a 20 acre site in Kumeu, Auckland. The company plans to grow a high-CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis chemovar in this controlled greenhouse environment.
The Kumeu site is in addition to the company’s existing licensed facility in East Tamaki, which will cultivate a combination of CBD and THC-dominant chemovars.
Helius execs believe high-CBD chemovar is better suited to a greenhouse environment.
“Operating two sites and two very different grow environments provides greater scope and will ultimately allow Helius to optimise cultivation to suit its product strategy.