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FSD Pharma leaving cannabis for COVID-19, closing medical pot facility in Cobourg, Ont.

FSD Pharma in Cobourg is getting out of the medicinal cannabis production and focusing on the coronavirus.
FSD Pharma in Cobourg is getting out of the medicinal cannabis production and focusing on the coronavirus. FSD Pharma

FSD Pharma, which launched a medicinal cannabis production facility in Cobourg, Ont., will be cancelling its cannabis licences and closing the operation next month to focus on coronavirus work.

On Thursday, the biotech/pharmaceutical company announced it has notified Health Canada of its decision to forfeit its licences. It also plans to suspend all activities within 30 days and has begun the process of liquidating all assets, including the sale of its cannabis production facility in Cobourg.

The plant is based on William Street at the former Kraft Foods plant.

Global News Peterborough reached out to the Town of Cobourg for comment. Mayor John Henderson said he has no further comment at this time regarding the company’s announcement.

Read more: New Cobourg medicinal marijuana facility aims to hire 1,500 people by 2021

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In April 2019 when the company received its sales licences from Health Canada, it touted plans to hire 1,500 people by 2021. The company said its plant was going to cultivate, process and produce more than 400,000 kg of cannabis per year.

Instead, the company wants to shift its focus on pharmaceutical efforts, in particular, to help COVID-19 patients.

“It is now clear to us that our shareholder value is best served in closing down our medicinal-grade cannabis operation in Cobourg, Ont., and reinforcing steps to advance pharmaceutical research and development efforts on our lead compound FSD201 (ultra-micronized PEA) and continuing to explore the acquisition of other compelling compounds to expand our drug development pipeline,” stated company CEO and executive co-chairman Raza Bokhari.

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“Our pharmaceutical R&D team led by Dr. Edward Brennan is actively working to submit an investigational new drug (IND) application to the FDA for the use of FSD201 to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients by down-regulating the over-expressed pro-inflammatory cytokine immune response to SARS-COV-2 virus infection.

“We are hopeful to initiate the Phase 2 clinical trial before the end of this year and remain cautiously optimistic that our study may improve treatment outcome for COVID-19 patients,” he added.

In its statement, the company stresses it is not making any express or implied claims that its product has the ability to eliminate, cure or contain the novel coronavirus at this time.

More to come.

Cobourg medical marijuana plant ready to grow
Cobourg medical marijuana plant ready to grow