Australia Now Has First Publicly Traded Cannabis Firm

79128_01_hThe marijuana industry is flourishing not just in the United States but in various parts of the world as well. The latest country to join in is Australia, as PhytoTech Medical (PYL:ASX) became its first publicly traded cannabis firm to get listed in the Australian Securities Exchange.

Here is a closer look at the company, and what potential investors can expect from it.

An Alternative Delivery Systems Developer

Listed just last January 22, PhytoTech Medical develops delivery systems of medical marijuana, promising to bring safe and effective cannabis dispensing methods.

The company is aware that in the medical community, though MMJ research and development has had significant progress, cannabis consumption by smoking is still considered detrimental. Thus, the rising marijuana company focuses on developing alternative methods for patients to consume the medical herb. Some delivery forms the company is working on are:

  • Trans-dermal patches
  • Nasal spray (olfactory delivery system)
  • Injectable long-acting formulations
  • Fast-dissolving oral films
  • Oral delivery formulation
  • Lozenges, gums, and lollipops

Patent-pending Product

One of PhytoTech’s prime products is a vapor-cap device that provides smokeless cannabis delivery to patients who need relief. The device, which is currently in development, is designed to deliver a specific dose, for single use, and for easy disposing.

Investors may want to note that this product is patent pending, and PhytoTech will own it 100%. It is also unique among the many vaporizers in the market for a number of reasons.

A University of California study found that using the vaporizing device posed “virtually no exposure” to the harmful products of combustion. The safety of this product is complemented by the fact that its users get the same amount of THC (a cannabinoid or medicinal marijuana compound) as they would from smoking.

PhytoTech also emphasizes that its device delivers a measured dose. This is an important feature – common vaporizers could lead to abuse among users because they do not properly or accurately measure the dosages. With PhytoTech’s disposable cap on its device, patients are guaranteed of consistent, measured doses, lessening the probability of drug abuse.

On top of these, PhytoTech stresses that vaporizing cannabis is better for patients than oral consumption. According to the company, oral consumption is “problematic” because through it, fatty tissues tend to uptake cannabinoids, slowing the chemicals’ release. The breakdown of THC is also complicated with “the significant first-pass liver metabolism”.

Partnership With Israeli Team

Though it has pointed out a potential drawback of oral MMJ consumption, PhytoTech is developing “precisely dosed” cannabis pills intended for the mainstream pharmaceutics market.

To work on this, the company has made a deal with Yissum, a company that serves as the technology transfer arm of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the intellectual property of the university, Yissum is among the top technology transfer firms in the world. It has 8,300 registered patents, 2,337 inventions, more than 700 technology licenses, and more than 80 companies spun out.

Technologies from Hebrew University coupled with commercialization by Yissum have led to an annual sales figure of over $2 billion. With this, PhytoTech has a good outlook for its medical marijuana pills.

CEO Controversy

While the company is showing promise, PhytoTech has had its own share of issues. Its founder and now-former CEO, Ross Smith, resigned after posting a controversial Facebook post.

The post was apparently aimed to threaten a critic of Smith. It first spotlighted Smith’s “special forces bodyguards” in Israel, then claimed that the critic had been tracked to a Perth home. The post also mentioned that Smith had a relationship with the critic’s girlfriend some years ago, and then proceeded to use an expletive.

“Guess what c***?” the post stated, “We will be paying you a visit.”

The social media post has since been removed, but Smith had to step down.

PhytoTech chairman Peter Wall expressed his appreciation of the ex-CEO’s legacy, saying Smith put the management team together and brought the company where it is today.

On To The Future

PhytoTech Medical is looking at more positive developments in the future. For one, it is aiming to be a vertically integrated company involved from the cultivation up to the delivery of medical cannabis.

Part of its plan is to develop medical marijuana grow operation facilities in California, USA and in Uruguay. It also intends to license its products to international pharmaceutical firms in exchange for royalties. In addition, the company is now trying to obtain exclusive rights to some genetic cannabis strains from various unnamed companies.

In general, PhytoTech Medical shows desirable qualities that may attract investments. Its products are anticipated to be best-in-class, and it has a strong management team (CEO issue aside) plus a well-established medical advisory board. Now that this company is public, it is certainly one worth watching.

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