Listed health and wellness company Wellnex Life (ASX: WNX) has added national pharmacy chain Chemist Warehouse to its medicinal cannabis joint venture (JV) with Melbourne-based OneLife Botanicals to get products on shelves nationally.
Under the deal, Chemist Warehouse will receive 10 per cent equity in Wellnex’s existing JV with OneLife, which is aiming to launch five new medicinal cannabis products by the end of the current financial year.
The products will be released under the Special Access Scheme Category B (SAS-B) guidelines, allowing medical practitioners to prescribe medicinal cannabis formulations that are not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods to patients.
Beyond national ranging with Chemist Warehouse, Wellnex intends to distribute the medicinal cannabis to additional pharmacy channels that complement the national chain’s network.
“We are delighted to announce that Wellnex will be initially launching five medicinal cannabis products through our joint venture partnership with OneLife Botanicals,” Wellnex Life CEO George Karafotias says.
“We are excited to be entering a rapidly transforming industry which is seeing surging consumer demand with growing recognition of the legitimacy of cannabis-based medicine by patients and prescribers.”
Further, Wellnex has entered into an agreement with medtech OnTracka to launch a new Telehealth application for patients to be prescribed medicinal cannabis.
Sydney-based OnTracka will use its industry expertise and data to develop the new Telehealth application that will connect patients with authorised prescribers and relevant cannabis products to ensure a seamless prescription and medication management process for patients.
The deals come five months after Wellnex JV partner OneLIife acquired medicinal cannabis manufacturer MediPharm Australia, including the company’s Australian facility, specialised licensing, operational knowledge, and ANZ customers currently served from the facility.
At the time, Wellnex said it would enable the listed company to be one of the first to obtain approval for over-the-counter medicinal cannabis products, allowing pharmacists to dispense formulations of the drug without the need for a prescription.
“This opens up a new, untapped market for medicinal cannabis products that don’t require a prescription, and has considerable public demand,” Karafotias said in October 2022.
“We are keenly focused on being one of the first companies to deliver a Schedule 3 (S3) product to the market.
“Upon TGA approval of an S3 product, Wellnex will have access to an end-to-end supply chain to deliver high-quality medicinal cannabis over the counter to Australians.”
One month prior to the MediPharm acquisition, Wellnex announced it had purchased Melbourne-based teeth whitening brand Mr Bright for $1.5 million.
That purchase saw the brand, founded in 2016 by the 2018 winner of the Melbourne Young Entrepreneur Award in the Manufacturing, Wholesale and Distribution category Hamish Buckley, join Wellnex’s suite of brands including Mark Wahlberg-founded nutritional powder company Performance Inspired, paracetamol producer Liquigesic, and supplements brand Australian Garlic.
Wellnex also runs some non-health focused brands including bin cleanser solution Bin Buddy, canned meats brand Plumrose, and plant-based snacks company Simply7.
Last month, Wellnex released its half year financial report detailing a 54.4 per cent uplift in revenue to $13.3 million, and a $4.16 million loss.
Net assets for Wellnex Life increased to $7.9 million as at 31 December 2022, up from $4.4 million. The company also said it invested in its inventory to mitigate supply chain issues during the half, resulting in its inventory increasing to $7 million as at 31 December 2022..
“While we recorded a net loss for the period, many of these costs will not reoccur and we can see the path to profitability ahead,” Karafotias said.
“We are keenly focused on delivering value for shareholders and innovating new and exciting products to meet consumer demand and establish ourselves as a major player in the health and wellness market.”
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