UK medicinal marijuana startups take off

| Thomas Sheils

Last July, Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies raised $10m in equity finance. This was a significant moment in the UK’s investment scene, representing the first equity investment into a medicinal marijuana startup in nearly two decades (since GW Pharmaceuticals listed on the AIM in 2001). Given the increasing noise about the potential of cannabis-derived drugs, and the increasingly soft stance of Home Secretary Sajid Javid, we predicted that this sector was on the tipping point of an investment “green rush”.

Our predictions have so far been borne out. Later in July Grow Biotech raised £2m in equity finance, at a £14m pre-money valuation. Under the helm of Ben Langley, an ex-Morgan Stanley trader, Grow Biotech is looking to bridge the gap between science and market in the medicinal marijuana sector. Essentially, they are looking to develop pharmaceutical IP, based on cannabis-derived compounds. Currently, they are in their R&D phase.

Then, in September, a new joint venture between the Beckley Foundation and Canopy Health, (Beckley Canopy Therapeutics) launched with a £7m equity finance round. Again, this entity will act as a pharmaceutical company, looking to develop, manufacture and supply new drugs based on cannabis-derived products. 

The green rush appears to be well on its way in the UK. After a gap of investment activity of around 17 years, three separate rounds have now taken place over just a few months. 

All our data comes from the Beauhurst platform. 

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