Aphria invests in Scientus to tap Canadian MJ extracts market

Aphria is increasing its stake in the booming cannabinoid-based extracts market with an 11.5 million Canadian dollar ($9 million) investment in Scientus Pharma, a vertically integrated biopharmaceutical company.

Toronto-based Scientus Pharma conducts research and product development related to medical cannabinoids and their derivatives. The investment is in the form of senior, secured convertible debt.

Aphria (Toronto Stock Exchange: APH), based in Leamington, Ontario, said the investment also gives it access to Scientus’ so-called dealer’s license. The holder of such a license is permitted to buy, process and sell cannabinoid derivatives in international markets.

Canada’s medical marijuana market has experienced explosive growth, particularly for extracts. The amount of cannabis oil sold to clients registered with Health Canada rose 870% between the first quarter of 2016, when 584 kilograms were sold, and one year later, when 5,673 kilograms were sold.

The number of registered clients tripled to 160,000 people over the same period, according to Health Canada.