Canadian-listed investment group SOL Global is to acquire a 25 per cent stake in Irish medical cannabis company GreenLight Medicines in a €1.8 million deal. Under the terms of the transaction, SOL could double its shareholding in the start-up and take a significant stake in any future subsidiary.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Dublin, GreenLight is focused on bringing novel cannabinoid medicines to market for the treatment of conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), glaucoma, arthritis, epilepsy and cancer.
SOL is to acquire an initial 25 per cent stake in the biopharmaceutical company with an option to increase its shareholding to 51 per cent. In addition, the Toronto-based investment group has acquired an option to take a 75 per cent stake in a future GreenLight subsidiary that successfully obtains a cannabis cultivation licence in Ireland for an aggregate exercise price of approximately €1 million.
Since its founding, GreenLight has focused its research on some of the pharmaceutical industry’s most popular therapy areas including in anti-rheumatics, oncology, bronchodilators, and immunosuppressants.
The company last year agreed a working partnership with FutureNeuro, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded research centre for chronic and rare neurological diseases to develop cannabis-based treatments for drug-resistant epilepsies.
In 2019 we expect to see the rollout of full medicinal cannabis markets in Ireland and the UK
GreenLight, which has plans to create up to 500 research and development jobs over the next five years, has built a network of researchers across Ireland, Britain and North America and it currently has research agreements with six academic institutions: Imperial College London, Ulster University, University College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Queen's University Belfast and University College Cork.
GreenLight was founded by Dr James Linden who previously founded and led his own generic drug company called Éireceutica. Its chief finance officer is Patrick Deasy, the former European head of American pharmaceutical company, AAIPharma.
“In 2019 we expect to see the rollout of full medicinal cannabis markets in Ireland and the UK. GreenLight is primed to perform well in these developing markets with our top quality and affordable plant medicines,” said Mr Linden.
GreenLight’s distribution operations include a proprietary food supplements subsidiary that holds distribution agreements with 1,000 pharmacies across Ireland and the UK.
“The expansion of our food supplements range, and the research and development of our pharmaceutical products, will enable GreenLight to have a greater profile on the international scene as a major player in medical cannabis,” added Mr Linden.
The company previously secured €500,000 in funding from a consortium of private Irish investors in September 2016 to help it research medical uses for cannabis extracts. Swiss-American firm Isodiol also committed €1.25 million in CBD hemp oil products at that time to assist GreenLight in cultivating its research studies within Irish universities.
Formerly known as Scythian Biosciences, SOL Global is an international investment company with a focus on legal cannabis-related companies in the US and the emerging European cannabis and hemp marketplaces.
"SOL Global is excited to partner with the clinical research team at GreenLight as they continue to develop R&D programmes throughout Europe. As society continues to delve into the future of using cannabis medicinally, GreenLight plans to be instrumental in forming industry-leading solutions and therapies," said chief executive Brady Cobb.
As part of the agreement, SOL Global director Rob Reid and chief medical officer Michael Barnes are to join the board of GreenLight.