Here's Medlab Clinical Ltd's 'world first' plan to test cannabis on Sydney patients

The Medlab Clinical Ltd (ASX:MDC) plans to test cannabis at Royal North Shore Hospital. And investors seem to think that's a good idea.

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The Medlab Clinical Ltd (ASX: MDC) share price jumped 10 per cent as the company announced plans to test its cannabis product in Sydney in a trial the company claims is a world first.

The news comes on the back of an announcement made by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) stating that it has changed its Special Access Scheme to allow medical practitioners to use the type of cannabis medicine that Medlab is working with.

This clinical trial of Medlab's cannabis-based medicine NanaBis product is believed to be the first of its kind in the world, according to the company.

The trial is planned to take place at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.

It is to be conducted under the supervision of Professor Stephen Clarke OAM, a medical oncologist and professor of medicine at the University of Sydney, according to Medlab.

Patients in the trial are expected to be seriously ill oncology patients who are to be administered NanaBis to help with pain management instead of opioids.

Earlier this year, the President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Michael Gannon, cautiously welcomed reforms that have led to a series of ASX-listed companies gearing up to capitalise on the potentially lucrative medical cannabis market.

"The truth is that it potentially does have limited application in a number of areas, including the palliative care setting and including symptom relief for nausea and pain and certainly for spasticity – certain neuromuscular conditions and certain forms of juvenile epilepsy," Dr Gannon said.

"Show us the scientific evidence and doctors will prescribe it selectively on a patient by patient basis."

It seems Medlab is one step closer to providing that evidence and the company's CEO Sean Hall said the TGA's changes will enable Medlab a faster route to commercialisation of its research.

"In pursuing a clinical trial route, we  are seeking to  make our medicines distinctive, giving medical practitioners,   government and industry stakeholders, such as the Australian Medical Association, confidence in prescribing for our products," Mr Hall said.

It's understood that Medlab, with a market cap of about $142 million, estimates that the value of its commercial product that it is allowed to import will be worth about $30 million per year.

Medlab wasn't the only medical cannabis company to see its share price shoot up on Thursday amid positive developments for the industry.

The Zelda Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD) share price was up 9.5 per cent, while Creso Pharma Ltd (ASX: CPH), which saw its share price fly up the charts this week, remains in a trading halt.

But it wasn't all good news for Australia's pot stocks.

The Hydroponics Company Ltd (ASX: THC), MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX: MXC), Auscann Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: AC8), all watched their share prices dip on Thursday.           

Motley Fool contributor Steve Holland has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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