CMU and Atlanta Medicare have invested 1 billion baht in the construction of closed-system cannabis manufacturing facilities that will be ready for production by early 2024, pushing the pharmaceutical industry to the global stage following the concept of ‘Made in Thailand, Under International Standards, for Global Population’.
Striving to become a leader in drug innovation, particularly medical cannabis products, CMU and Atlanta Medicare Co., Ltd., which imports and distributes pharmaceutical and medical products, signed an MoU on the production of medical-grade cannabis extracts for medical use, drawing on the expertise of CMU researchers to ensure compliance with international standards for the betterment of the patients. This collaboration has led to the construction and launch of the medical cannabis manufacturing facilities on August 15, 2023.
Professor Emeritus Dr. Sanchai Jaturasitha from the CMU Science and Technology Research Institute, as the project’s coordinator, explained that this bilateral academic collaboration on medical-grade cannabis extract production had begun back in 2019. Due to several severe and chronic diseases such as epilepsy, which is difficult to treat and can become drug-resistant, and Parkinson’s disease, physicians have resorted to modern drugs derived from herbs, particularly medical cannabis, to help with the treatment. For this reason, there is a need for comprehensive research and development by CMU researchers, starting from the upstream –strain selection and researching suitable conditions by the Faculty of Agriculture, the midstream – extraction, and quality control leading to drug development by the Faculty of Pharmacy, and the downstream – clinical testing and medical application by the Faculty of Medicine. There are also integrations and collaborations between internal and external organizations such as the Science and Technology Park and the Sriphat Medical Centre to promote innovation integration and proper use of resources.
Mr. Suphadej Amnuaysakul, the Managing Director at Atlanta Medicare, stated that the manufacturing facility has adopted the research findings by CMU in the industrial production process in order to be able to produce high-quality medical cannabis products. A one-billion-baht worth of research and development budget has been invested in partnership with CMU on a 25,600-m2 piece of land that houses two main buildings: cultivation and production facilities. The cultivation facility is a closed-system greenhouse that uses indoor cultivation technology and follows the international standards: Good Agricultural Practices for Herbs (GAP) 3502-2561 and Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) in a Class D Cleanroom in which more than 7,000 kg of dry cannabis flower can be produced each year. The extraction will be done using a high-performance supercritical CO2 extractor imported from the US and other machines and equipment by industry-leading companies that meet the GMP PIC/S. At first, it is expected that a minimum of 220,000 bottles of oral liquid dosage forms will be produced every year. There will also be an integration of knowledge and advanced technology by CMU to maximize the efficacy of the products.
Assistant Professor Dr. Tanyanuparb Anantana, Vice President, as the coordinator in business model design and product application, added that at the launch of another MoU on the commercialization of the research by the Angkaew Holding Company, CMU’s holding company, and CannDo Pharma Co., Ltd. by Atlanta Medicare that it is responsible for cultivating and producing medical cannabis products and to supply them to the hospital system for patients who need them as a part of their treatment. When used, every lot is traceable.
Professor Dr. Pongruk Sribanditmongkol, CMU President who presided over the launch, expressed that the establishment of the cultivation and production facilities will allow for a comprehensive, domestic production of cannabis products that meets the standards, thus reducing imports and promoting exports on a global scale. CMU and its partner have also planned to continue advancing medical cannabis drug development to address the need for medical cannabis in other conditions such as nausea among patients receiving chemotherapy, neuropathic pain, and dystonia in patients with multiple sclerosis. It is hoped that this will lead to an improved quality of life, not just for Thais but for people all over the world, following the concept of ‘Made in Thailand, Under International Standards, for Global Population’.