Aurora Cannabis (TSE: ACB) is working on a deal that would see it acquire 51% of a medical cannabis company in Portugal. The target is Gaia Pharm Lda, which is licensed in the country, and Aurora would establish a local facility to produce both medical cannabis and cannabis derivatives. The agreement is only in its initial phase and still requires due diligence on the part of Aurora before it can be completed.
Gaia has been given the approval to build a cannabis cultivation facility that complies with European Union (EU) good manufacturing practice (GMP) requirements. That approval was issued by INFARMED, a division of the Portuguese Health Ministry and the body that oversees evaluation, authorization, and control of medicines for human use, as well as health products for the protection of public health.
The acquisition is part of Aurora’s plan to launch in countries that have nascent medical cannabis markets. The new facility will be built in stages, with the first stage scheduled to be completed during the third quarter of 2020. That stage will offer a production capacity of around 2,000kg annually, which would grow to 4,000kg when the second stage is complete.
Aurora CEO Terry Booth said in a statement, “We are very pleased to be entering yet another European market, and look forward to collaborating with our joint venture partners, the government of Portugal and the Portuguese medical community, to encourage the development of a rigorously regulated and safe medical cannabis system that is well supplied and accessible to patients. With the addition of this new project, we are now active in 24 countries, which we believe represents the largest global footprint of any cannabis company. Aurora’s reputation in the medical cannabis sector, bolstered by the high quality of our products and our commitment to medical and plant research, provides distinct advantages in establishing significant market share in the rapidly growing European market.”
The company’s VP of Business Development Europe, Dr. Axel Gille, added, “The formation of this joint venture and the approval of the cultivation facility in Portugal are additional important steps in Aurora’s plan to develop a strong European manufacturing presence, ensuring that patients across Europe have access to the pharmaceutical grade medical cannabis they need.”