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Overseed raises €2.5 million for its research on therapeutic cannabis

On 30 November, after being awarded the first R&D licence for cannabis in France by the ANSM, the biotech start-up Overseed announced that it had raised €2.5 million in funding from business angels for its agronomic and genetic research into medical cannabis. Founded in January 2021 in Orleans, the Overseed biotech has received the first ever French approval from the ANSM (French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines). This authorises it to start a phase of genetic and agronomic research and development on cannabis. The French start-up then decided to raise €2.5 million to finance it until 2023.

Medical cannabis experimentation: France anticipates and plans for the next generation

This approval should make it possible to anticipate the end of the experimentation on medical cannabis treatment, conducted in France since March 2021, which is supposed to last until 2023. As a reminder, the substance is used to alleviate pain and improve the quality of life of patients suffering from neuropathy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or to relieve their treatment by chemotherapy or palliative care. However, as the production of therapeutic cannabis is still forbidden in France, the products used on these patients are all imported.

According to Hugues Péribère, an agricultural engineer and president of Overseed, the aim of this operation is to be ready to market pharmaceutical-grade products by 2023 - when the French experiment will end - while also hoping that production and widespread use of treatments will be authorised by then.

Requirements for pharmaceutical use of cannabis

When used for medical purposes, cannabis products must have a very precise composition of certain molecules, such as CBD or THC. In addition, a high degree of plant stability is required to guarantee the homogeneity of the seeds. As such, research will also focus on the processing of cannabis flowers into treatments in the form of oils or dried flowers for inhalation. This is a delicate process as the composition of the product must not be altered in any way during the drying or extraction stage. Overseed plans to outsource the extraction to an unnamed specialist laboratory.

Although Overseed is the very first French company to receive this authorisation, we can guess that it will not be the last. It only remains for France to catch up with other countries that have legalised medical cannabis for some time now.

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