BEST EMERGING BUSINESS/ NEW BRAND: HELIUS
New Zealand seems to have what it takes to crack the cannabis-based medicine market: the brand, the scientific skills, the agritech, as well as general popular support for cannabis therapeutics. It’s just a case of making the most of the opportunity.
Enter Helius, the company that sees cannabis as a mainstream product, consumed by mainstream people – by breaking down stigma, applying scientific rigour and the highest possible production standards, alongside a purposeful brand.
“Thousands of people in New Zealand are suffering with chronic pain, sleep, neurological and gastrointestinal disorders and a myriad of other debilitating ailments,” says Helius co-founder and executive director Paul Manning.
“Over 230,000 Kiwis currently use cannabis regularly for medicinal purposes, purchased almost entirely on the black market. These patients don't know the quality, potency or dose of the cannabis they are consuming, and the primary means of consumption is smoking.”
“Helius will produce high quality, GMP-certified, medical grade cannabis therapeutics that doctors and patients can rely on – for the same or less cost than the black market.”
They’re certainly off to strong start. This year the company raised a cool $15 million in capital from local investors, led by Kiwi rich-lister and chairman of Helius, Guy Haddleton. They’ve partnered with Plant & Food Research, ESR, Callaghan Innovation, as well as MRINZ. They’ve gained one of the first cannabis licenses in New Zealand and recently moved into a new facility in East Tamaki.
“We've travelled the world, touring facilities in North America and Australia, meeting with dozens of the industry's leaders, including researcher, scientists and entrepreneurs,” says Manning, “bringing insights back to New Zealand where we are fusing this experience with our local innovation.”
“Our goal is to launch a world-class, integrated cannabis production operation in Auckland, create a new billion-dollar local economy and take our New Zealand to the world stage, in a $55b global marketplace.”
“Our objective is to become recognised as leaders in our field and differentiated by innovating new and novel cannabinoid-based therapeutics.”