The marriage between Sandoz Canada Inc.and Tilray Inc.

Sandoz Canada Inc., a pharmaceutical drug company, has signed off on the use of its name by Tilray Inc. for marijuana products.

The company announced on Tuesday that it would rebrand eight of Tilray’s oil products with the Sandoz name. Sandoz is a subsidiary of Novartis International AG, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

The marriage between Sandoz Canada Inc.and Tilray Inc.  will be seen more prominently as legalization nears in Canada.

To bring credibility

“We think it’s going to bring a lot of credibility to the product vis-à-vis the patients and the physicians and the pharmacists,” said Michel Robidoux, president and general manager of Sandoz Canada. “Sandoz is an old brand, and it’s well known in the Canadian market. We fill over 50 million prescriptions a year with Sandoz products.”

Eventually, Sandoz wants to set its sight on research and development (R&D).

“We need to review all of the current studies or research that they’ve done, and then we’ll see where do we move from there.”

Not enough research

Although in the past few years, registration of patients for medical marijuana have increased, the amount of research being done on the product has not significantly risen.

“Ultimately there will be more research, more than branding, that helps marijuana become a mainstream medical product,” said Marc Wayne, chief executive of Canopy Health Innovations Inc., a subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corp., that focuses on developing clinical products.

“It’s easy to put out a product in a capsule form and sell it,” said Wayne. However, “you’re not answering the other part of the equation, which is what doctors really want,” he added.

Wayne talked about the missing details required in the nascent market.

“How much of a consistent dose should I be giving my patients? In what levels? How many times a day? What is the ratio of different cannabinoids should I be giving them?  And for what particular indication?”

But even with the involvement of big pharma companies like Sandoz and Apotex, cannabis companies are still years behind getting Health Canada’s approval for health claims.

So far, the LP CannTrust does have a deal with Apotex Inc., but they still don’t have a product to unleash to the market, making this Tilray and Sandoz deal more important to the cannabis industry.