“We are actually the first in North America to have a pharmaceutical production license for the extraction of cannabinoids,” says Keith Strachan
The next act on the world stage is for a company from Barrie.
MediPharm Labs has just reached an important milestone in pharmaceutical manufacturing since it was founded about six years ago.
“The latest news for us is that we have just received our Health Canada license for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), a globally recognized pharmaceutical designation,” Keith Strachan, President and Interim CEO of MediPharm Labs, told BarrieToday.
The company that makes concentrated cannabis products is part of a pharmaceutical inspection cooperative that spans more than 50 countries, which means it is an internationally recognized standard.
Here in Canada, the industry is subject to cannabis law and a general cannabis production facility would receive a “Good Production Practices” award.
“So we took it to the next level by getting this pharmaceutical license,” he says. “We are actually the first in North America to have a pharmaceutical production license for the extraction of cannabinoids, a very unique license not only for Canada, but also for Canada and the United States.”
Strachan says the new certification will bring some important changes in how the company operates.
“We can now make cannabis available for pharmaceutical drugs,” he says. “Being a traditional medicine means that it is easier to access, so that you can collect it from both pharmacists and doctors who can more easily prescribe it.
“There is some data behind this that will significantly change our business with the products that we can manufacture.”
MediPharm Labs, headquartered and started in Barrie, employs around 120 people here, with a further 25 working from home.
“But we also have a factory outside Melbourne, Australia, with around 45 employees today. From there we supply the Australian market and the European market, ”says Strachan. “What this new certification means for us here in Barrie is that we can now manufacture more products internationally.
“Today we ship products from our facility to Australia as well as places like Peru, but this will open the doors for us to sell products across Europe and eventually to places with medical programs like Mexico and Brazil. ”
What is important about MediPharm is that it is “pharmaceutically and medically oriented,” says Strachan.
“It was founded in 2015 as a pharmaceutical company,” he says. “We just entered into a joint research agreement with McMaster University in which they use our CBD oil (cannabidiol) to conduct studies on post-operative pain.
“This is research that has been approved by Health Canada and is carried out by experienced researchers. It could be another option for pain management, ”says Strachan.
The company’s nondescript John Street building houses immaculate high-tech laboratories and security facilities, immaculate sorting and shipping areas, and of course boxes and crates of various varieties of raw herbs waiting to be processed for various purposes.
“It’s an old building that we completely renovated and built specifically for our use,” says Strachan. “It contains several International Organization for Standardization (ISO) cleanrooms that you would see in any pharmaceutical facility.”
COVID-19 was a challenge for MediPharm, he adds.
“As an essential service, we never closed, so our employees did different things like segregating shifts so that the night shift never meets the day shift,” he says. “We have a number of protocols in place here to make sure it is a safe environment.
“It resulted in a slowdown in sales as some of our regulatory paths stalled a bit while international health authorities dealt with the pandemic at hand. But we see a lot of it getting better now.
“At the other end of COVID there are a lot of promises, but we’ve worked really hard to make sure we get through it.”