Canada pot grower Tilray enters pharma deal with Novartis' Sandoz

Montreal (AFP) –


Canadian cannabis grower Tilray announced Tuesday it has entered a global framework agreement with Sandoz, a generic drug arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis.

Investors welcomed the news, with Tilray shares leaping nearly 10 percent on New York's Nasdaq index as of 1530 GMT.

The marijuana company will collaborate with Sandoz to supply non-combustible medicinal products. The partnership could also include the co-branding of certain products and the development of new ones.

The agreement builds on an existing alliance in Canada between Tilray and Sandoz's local subsidiary.

Established in 2013, Tilray currently distributes its products in 12 countries worldwide, with operations in Canada as well as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Chile and Portugal.

Nearly two dozen countries have legalized medical marijuana use, including Canada since 2001, along with 33 US states and the District of Columbia.

In October Canada became the world's first major economy to legalize recreational cannabis use, following the footsteps of Uruguay, which did so five years prior.