Health & Fitness

Medical cannabis firm backed by Snoop Dogg begins trading in London

Recording artist Snoop Dogg speaks onstage during day one of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015 at Pier 70 on September 21, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

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LONDON — Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, which enjoys backing from rapper Snoop Dogg and tobacco giant Imperial Brands, launched Friday on the London Stock Exchange.

The British company, which specializes in pain-alleviating cannabinoid drug development, raised gross proceeds of £16.5 million ($23.4 million) in its initial public offering, with a starting market value of just over £48 million ($69.1 million).

The share price hovered at around 5 pence at midday Friday, after opening near 8 pence.

Snoop Dogg, real name Calvin Broadus Jr., has invested in multiple cannabis start-ups including OCT through his venture capital firm Casa Verde. His firm has also backed plant-based food companies such as Outstanding Foods and tech names like Klarna, Robinhood and Reddit.

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compound chemicals found in the cannabis sativa plant and are commonly used for medicinal purposes to treat symptoms such as chronic pain.

OCT’s strategy is to develop cannabinoid pharmaceuticals for the nonaddictive treatment of pain conditions. CEO John Lucas told CNBC on Friday the company plans to use the proceeds of its IPO to develop four new drugs.

“The key here is about getting cannabinoids into the hands of patients, and the way you do that is through the drug development process,” Lucas told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

“The medical cannabis, the problem with that is that physicians cannot prescribe it, so we want a drug product that we can get into the hands of physicians, into the hands of patients.”

In its listing announcement, OCT said its “primary market focus is the total addressable pain market, which is estimated to be worth at least £42.5 billion by commercialisation of the first drug produced by OCT, currently anticipated to be in 2027.”

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