With local products now coming on stream, New Zealand’s largest medicinal cannabis summit comes at an exciting time. Next year will see New Zealand’s burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry well into its delivery phase, says Dr Zahra Champion, Executive Director of BioTechNZ and MedCan Summit 2022 organiser.
MedCan was scheduled to take place in the middle of October this year. However, due to Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions, the industry summit will now take place on 10 and 11 February next year at Auckland’s Cordis hotel.
“Recently, Helius had two locally manufactured products verified which are now available on prescription, while in September Rua Bioscience was the second Kiwi business to receive its GMP Licence to Manufacture Medicines. These are fantastic developments for our industry and for patients across New Zealand,” says Dr Champion.
Focused on ‘a new frontier of care’, the well-timed summit will connect industry leaders, researchers, health professionals, scientists, and business owners.
“This has been a long journey. It’s nearly three years since the enabling legislation was passed in Parliament and over 18 months since New Zealand’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme took effect. The local industry is starting to roll-out high quality and affordable products for Kiwi patients, but there’s still so much more to come,” she says.
Dr Champion says despite moving the event to February, the summit has gathered momentum with additional sponsors, exhibitors and speakers joining. An updated two-day programme is now available on MedCan’s website www.medcansummit.co.nz. It details the Industry and Science streams, as well as the Healthcare Professionals Forum.
The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand has accredited the health professional sessions, with the summit endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP).
Over 500 attendees are expected to attend in person and digitally. The more than 30 international and local speakers include scientists, medical experts, clinicians, entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers.
“We have a number of doctors attending which we’re thrilled about. Prescribers, after all, are key to patients accessing medicinal cannabis. We’ve really ramped up the programme for healthcare professionals. MedCan will provide the best opportunity for them to better equip themselves with all the necessary knowledge for prescribing medicinal cannabis,” she says.
Despite the great numbers already secured, MedCan 2022’s early bird discount has now been extended to 17 December. Discounts are also available for BioTechNZ and Tech Alliance members, with people encouraged to register early given last year’s event sold out.
Organisers are pleased to confirm Foundation Sponsor Helius Therapeutics continues its support and welcome new Gold Sponsor Eqalis as well as new Silver Sponsors Eylsian and Cannacare, while Puro, Callaghan Innovation and Shimadzu join as Bronze Sponsors.
The two-day summit will also feature a MedCan Exhibition showcasing medicinal cannabis companies, suppliers, supporters, and start-ups from across the industry.
“Next year Kiwis will see more local products on the market and businesses like Helius unleashing their exporting strategies. MedCan is an incredibly important annual summit for our sector and never more so than now. We’ve been proud to sponsor it from day one. MedCan extends education, enables collaboration, and encourages innovation – all important deliverables for us,” says Carmen Doran, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics.
Dr Champion says despite some frustrations this year over standards and patient access, it’s important the industry now comes together with one voice and collective mission.
“MedCan Summit 2022 comes at an exciting yet critical time. If New Zealand is to maximise the $100 million-plus already invested, we need to continue to work together. The good news is collectively everyone is primed and passionate about achieving this goal,” says Dr Zahra Champion.
MedCan Summit 2021 is organised by NZTech and BioTechNZ – a not for profit, membership-funded organisation with the goal of maximising New Zealand’s bioscience and technology capability to create a strong New Zealand bioeconomy. BioTechNZ is part of the New Zealand Tech Alliance.