Following a milestone year for European cannabis in 2021, which saw many companies take advantage of a wave of excitement surrounding the young industry’s potential, 2022 had a slower market development than many expected.
2023 is expected to bring yet more change. All eyes will be firmly fixed on Germany, Czechia and Switzerland, who are each pushing the boundaries of reform across the continent, while European regulators look to be placing more of a focus on harm reduction and human rights.
As Europe’s first potential recreational markets and models begin to take shape in 2023, the medical and pharmaceutical cannabis industries are also expected to have a strong year, with investors favouring stability in what will likely be another tough year economically.
We believe the medical and scientific part of the sector will continue to grow as hype from recreational markets take a back seat. In terms of our specific space, which is therapeutics that target the endocannabinoid system, we remain bullish. Building out the value chain will also continue to expand.
This year we predict that European medical cannabis pharmaceutical markets will take investment away from recreational markets as investors prioritise stable and developed regulation with scientifically proven products.
We’re seeing a lot of Life Science funds looking at deals that focus on the endocannabinoid system, while the pharmaceutical industry is also showing more of an interest in this space.
In light of this, we anticipate another multi-billion dollar exit in the medical cannabis – endocannabinoid space in 2023-2024 through the sales of a biotech companies to a big pharma firm.
Furthermore, we predict that a new drug like Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ Epidyolex will be approved this year. We have seen a number of new drugs for conditions including IBS, autism spectrum disorder, cardiomyopathy and cannabis use disorder which are in later stage trials or accelerating, and we would expect one of these products to be legalised this year.
Pharma is the destination: The industry standards will continue moving further towards the pharma world, which will help suppliers understand and better meet the requirements of the medicine agencies. This will benefit the work of developing compliant innovative products and having them approved for sales to patients. Denmark is one example, where the Danish Medicine Agency is in the process of defining the future monography for medical cannabis.
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