Medical cannabis research

Australia’s leading contract research organization focused exclusively on medicinal cannabis treatments

About Applied Cannabis Research

Accelerate your medicinal cannabis clinical development program. From project management through to clinical trial monitoring, management and patient recruitment, we’re Australia’s leading contract research organization in the medicinal cannabis sector.

Medicinal Cannabis Research needs a different approach. Intellectual property positions are different. Budgets are smaller. Timescales are shorter. Regulatory pathways are newly established and more complex. Product companies undertaking research in the Medicinal Cannabis sector need a different research partner. A partner with hands-on experience in the sector; direct access to the largest patient pool in the country; multiple treatment sites in every state; data collection platforms that are compliant, and tailored to the medicinal cannabis sector.

Applied Cannabis Research is dedicated to assisting medicinal cannabis companies with the development of their products with a single, unified vision: the faster the clinical development stage is accomplished the quicker medicinal cannabis treatments reach those who need them – the patients.

Applied Cannabis Research ACR

Why Australia for Cannabis Research?

Federally Legal Framework

Australia legalised medicinal cannabis in 2016. Although patient uptake was slow at first, doctor and patient numbers are now increasing rapidly. Applied Cannabis Research has direct access to the largest patient pool in the country with recruitment capability in every state.

Regulatory advantages

Australia and New Zealand has the expeditious CTN (clinical trial notification) scheme. Australia’s regulator, the TGA, requires only a notification of a clinical trial, deferring responsibility to the HREC (Human Research Ethics Committee – equivalent of an IRB) resulting in a more efficient study start-up. The HREC used by Applied Cannabis Research meets weekly and can approve projects rapidly, reducing long ethics wait times.

Pharmaceutical Approach

Products legally prescribed in Australia must be pharmaceuticals with known and tightly specified amounts of cannabinoids. They are manufactured in regulator-approved GMP facilities and must meet Australian medicinal cannabis quality standard TGO93. Products are prescribed in exact dosages and patients are monitored on a regular basis. All of these aspects of our medicinal cannabis framework make Australia a perfect location to carry out research that requires precision, control and reporting.

R&D Tax benefits

Australia has a strongly advantageous R&D tax scheme that, for smaller companies, will pay 45% of your investment as a cash-rebate, with an equivalent amount payable on overseas spend. Larger companies receive a tax rebate rather than a cash payment. This means that for most companies up to 90% of the money spent in Australia on R&D can be returned in some form.

Who we work with

Our team

Dr John Barlow

Dr John
Barlow

Principal Investigator

Dr John Barlow is the Principal Investigator for the CACOS Study, Australia’s largest medicinal cannabis observational trial. He has more than 10 years experience in clinical trials in a range of medical, surgical and public health fields, particularly oncology, neurology and orthopaedics. John is a former Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Monash University and was a Neil Hamilton Fairley Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council. He holds a PhD from Monash University and has published more than 200 peer reviewed papers and abstracts encompassing a range of topics including endocrinology, clinical chemistry and drug evaluation.

Dr Masego

Dr Masego
Tsimako

Research Lead

Dr Masego Tsimako Johnstone is a Research Lead for Applied Cannabis Research and has significant experience in biomedical and clinical research. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA. Masego was also a co-investigator for an NIH/H3 Africa funded research network known as the Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN) which primarily focused on addressing gene-environment interactions for HIV/AIDS and co-morbidities amongst African paediatric populations. Masego holds a PhD in Molecular Sciences from the University of Queensland and was a post-doctoral researcher at QIMR. She has also worked in the biotech sector and for contract research organisations within Australia focused on the delivery of sponsored Phase I-IV clinical trials and in-house observational studies. She brings this wealth of knowledge and expertise to ACR to deliver quality research programs to the medicinal cannabis sector. 

Dr Melissa Bendon

Dr Melissa
Benson

Advisory board member

Dr Melissa Benson sits on the Applied Cannabis Research advisory board. She brings her experience and expertise in conducting clinical trials with medicinal cannabis products to the broader ACR team in an advisory capacity. Melissa holds a PhD in Neuropharmacology from the University of Queensland and has completed postdoctoral fellowships focused on drug development in the fields of refractory epilepsy and cannabinoids. She has also completed postgraduate studies in intellectual property commercialisation. Melissa has managed sites for registration level pharmaceutical clinical trials (outside of cannabis) and was previously Clinical team leader at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics based at the University of Sydney, where she oversaw development, start-up, and execution of clinical trials with medicinal cannabinoids.

ACR receives funding from industry clients including but not limited to licensed medicinal cannabis producers and suppliers.

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