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.

Why Australia for Cannabis Research?

Federally Legal Medicinal Cannabis Framework.

Australia legalized medicinal cannabis in 2016. Although patient update 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 sites in every state.

A distinct advantage to conducting clinical research

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 faster study start-up. Applied Cannabis Clinics HREC’s meet weekly and can approve trials on the same day.

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 spend in Australia on R&D can be returned in some form.

Who we work with

CA Clinics

Our team

Dr John Barlow

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 Melissa Bendon

Dr Melissa Benson

Dr Melissa Benson is the General Manager of Applied Cannabis Research and has significant experience in conducting clinical trials with medicinal cannabis products. Melissa has 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 business studies in intellectual property commercialisation.

Melissa 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. These projects ranged from patient observational studies to randomised, placebo-controlled trials in a breadth of disease areas including psychiatry, neurological disorders and addiction, in addition to experimental studies assessing driving performance and cognition.

Dr Benson also has experience in management of clinical trials departments within general practice settings and has expertise in patient data collection, management and statistical analysis. She also has expertise related to clinical governance and human research ethics applications with a range of institutions including local health districts, private clinics and universities and has collaborated with specialist clinicians and academic researchers locally and abroad on a range of projects within the medicinal cannabis space.