Puro New Zealand and Helius Therapeutics have won the Industry Collaboration Award at the 2023 Australasian Cannabis Awards.
The win comes off the back of a partnership signed last year that commits Marlborough-based cultivator Puro to supplying over 10 tonnes of certified organic medicinal cannabis to Auckland-based manufacturer Helius Therapeutics over five years.
Puro CEO Sank Macfarlane says the Award recognises the two companies' commitment to providing Kiwis with sustainably grown and manufactured medicine.
“While cannabis-based medicines have been able to be prescribed by doctors since 2020, until our partnership with Helius there wasn’t a locally grown, locally manufactured option available - now there is. Since September 2022 Kiwi patients have been able to get a prescription for Puro-grown and Helius-manufactured medical cannabis.
“It’s the first-ever prescription medicine in New Zealand to be grown and manufactured locally.”
Carmen Doran, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics, speaking from the GP Conference in Rotorua this weekend, says that “the Awards recognise a maturing of the New Zealand medical cannabis industry.”
“There are no instructions on how to start an industry from scratch. Both Puro and Helius have overcome challenges along the way, and by working together we’re taking the local industry from strength to strength.
“Puro is providing us with some of the world’s best organically grown cannabis which we’re manufacturing into world-class, verified medicinal cannabis oils. It gives us a secure, trusted local supply chain of premium, organic medicinal cannabis which we can process into NZ-grown, NZ-made medicines.
“In New Zealand any doctor can prescribe medicinal cannabis for any condition and any pharmacy can dispense. Through this partnership we are providing greater access to Kiwi patients for medicines that are improving their quality of life.”
The partnership is also paving the way to export success with signed contracts taking the medicines overseas this year.
Macfarlane says the Award tops off another great year for the New Zealand medical cannabis industry.
“We’ve had a lot of wins over the last 12 months. Locally grown and manufactured cannabis medicine is now available to Kiwi patients, Puro has just had our biggest-ever harvest and led the development of an industry handbook on organic cannabis, and our industry is now exporting to the world. The most exciting thing is we know that the best is yet to come,” says Sank Macfarlane.
In addition to Helius and Puro winning the Cannabiz Award for Industry Collaboration, Helius received highly commended in the Best Product Launch category and Puro won the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Award in recognition of its commitment to sustainability and good corporate governance, and was shortlisted for the Cultivator/Manufacturer of the Year and the Best Place to Work awards. Puro’s outdoor operations manager Winston Macfarlane was a finalist in the Best Industry Newcomer Award.