FOLLOWING weeks of widespread losses throughout the European cannabis sector in the wake of ongoing macroeconomic headwinds, this week saw a number of prominent players secure double-digit share price rises.
In a week punctuated by a flurry of significant announcements from company’s across Europe, MGC Pharmaceuticals, Cellular Goods, Akanda and Panaxia Labs all reported price hikes putting an abrupt end to months of downward declines.
The turnarounds come amid continued momentum across Europe, and more importantly for the performance of global cannabis stocks, reports that a federal cannabis decriminalisation bill could finally reach the US senate next week.
MGC Pharmaceuticals, experienced its best week on the stock market since August 2021, seeing its stock jump as high as 50%.
Following a jam packed few weeks for the company, which saw it headline Cannabis Europa London 2022 last month, while releasing a rapid succession of RNS updates, including seven since the start of June, MGC saw its share price skyrocket 43% on Thursday, June 14.
It was the most recent of the succession of updates which triggered the spike, relating specifically to clinical study results for the company’s flagship compound ArtemiC on patients with long Covid.
According to a study of 150 patients suffering with long Covid who administered the ArtemiC oral spray for a six-week period, patients experienced a ‘statistically significant efficacy’ in reducing a number of key symptoms of long Covid, including a cough, shortness of breath, abnormal physical weakness or lack of energy, headache and mental confusion.
The company’s CEO Roby Zomer said these results ‘represent a real breakthrough for the company’, adding that it was ‘extremely gratifying to see this born out of a clinical trial undertaken by a third party’.
MGC’s release coincided with the publication of a new investigation conducted by The British Medical Journal and ITV News, which found that thousands of patients were travelling abroad and spending thousands, in some cases tens of thousands of pounds, on experimental and often ineffectual treatments for long Covid.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that the number of people with long Covid in the UK increased from 1.3m in January to 2m in May.
While this study appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for investors, it built on a raft of positive announcements over the past month.
Just last week, MGC announced that it had received study approvals and an import permit from the South African Health Regulatory Authority for Phase 2b of its CimetrA dose finding study, also on patients with Covid, enabling the company to ‘move through the clinical pipeline’ as quickly as possible.
Two days before that, MGC announced the upcoming launch of its AI-driven personalised medication app Zam, which it expects to have ‘broad-ranging implications for the health sector’.
Earlier in June, MGC announced that its second flagship compound CimetrA had received approval for clinical trials in the US, while separately receiving preliminary results from a pre-clinical study showing it has a ‘wide-ranging application as an anti-inflammatory treatment’.
This followed the publication of a further two RNS updates, one detailing the results of a two-year study that suggested its own cannabinoid treatment could be used to treat cancer patients, the other suggesting its third compound CogniCann could be effective in inhibiting deterioration in the behaviour of patients with dementia.
Following in MGC’s footsteps, Akanda saw a turnaround in fortunes this week, following a prolonged downward trajectory in its share price since May.
On Tuesday, July 12, Akanda announced a multi-year agreement with pharmaceutical company Tetra Bio-Pharma, seeing its share price spike 46%, before evening out at around 94p at the time of writing, marking a 23% rise throughout the week.
The deal will see Akanda supply Tetra with pharmaceutical grade cannabis flower for use in the latter’s inhaled cannabinoid-based product QIXLEEF.
Not only does the deal diversify Akanda into the cancer-pain medical market, but it marks the recently-NASDAQ-listed company’s debut into cannabinoid drug development.
Alongside the supply agreement, Akanda is set to become the contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) for Tetra’s clinical drug and commercial supply programmes.
While the announcement helped Akanda break out of an all-time slump in its share price, it is still a far cry from its $4 listing price and average trading value of around $8 in its first two months of trading.
It also came after a dramatic overhaul of its boardroom, seeing ‘concerned shareholders’ oust the entire executive team other than CEO Tej Virk.
Like MGC, it followed closely behind another significant announcement that its UK import and distribution subsidiary CanMart had partnered with Phlo Connect and Cellen Life Sciences to create a fully digital dispensing platform for medical cannabis.
Elsewhere, Love Hemp, which has had its shares on the Aquis stock exchange suspended since early May, has hired former Novacyt Chief Executive Graham Mullis as its new chairman.
The CBD retailer’s stocks have been stuck in limbo since its advisors, Peterhouse Capital Limited, decided to split from the company after an unnamed investor had ‘failed to make payment’ of £1.2m in ordinary shares.
Now, as part of an ‘ongoing internal review’, Love Hemp has eliminated the role of Executive Chairman, seeing Andrew Male now take up a new role of Non-Executive Director, while Mr Mullis will move from an Independent Non-Executive Director to Non-Executive Chairman.
Amid these boardroom musical chairs, former chair of the Audit Committee Garry Cook has resigned, to be replaced by Anthony Dire.
The company says it has also appointed an ‘interim managing director’, and is continuing to search for a new permanent CFO and another Non-Executive Director.
Mr Mullis, who said he is ‘excited by the opportunity’, previously sat at the helm of Novacyt, a company that made its fortune selling Covid tests during the pandemic.
The company is now locked in a legal battle with the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC), which is suing it for £134m over a multi-million-pound contract dispute.