Kiwi drug company AFT looks at medical cannabis opportunities as referendum nears


New Zealand drug company AFT Pharmaceuticals is planning to expand into medical cannabis should the country vote in favour of drug law reform in next year’s referendum, its founder says.

AFT was started in a garage 20 years ago by wife and husband duo Marree and Hartley Atkinson using $50,000 of startup capital. It listed on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges in late 2015 raising $33.2 million, which was put towards research and development of new drugs and expanding its global market.

It sells about 100 products in Australia and New Zealand ranging from pain relief, to allergy treatment, to eye care and has offices in both countries as well as Singapore and Malaysia, employing about 80 workers.

One of its most popular products is Maxigesic, a patented combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen. It’s sold in 15 countries and licensed in about 130.

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