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Quebec extraction firm Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. and High Park Holdings Ltd., an Ontario-based subsidiary of Tilray Inc., have been awarded the first two new Health Canada licenses of 2019 – both processing licenses.

Neptune, a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed firm previously focused on krill oil and omega-3 extraction, has an industrial scale extraction lab in Sherbrooke, Que. The company, which began converting its facility to cannabis extraction last year, says it has the ability to process around 30,000 kilograms of dried cannabis annually. A renovation, currently underway, will increase Neptune’s processing capacity to 200,000 kilograms of dried cannabis a year, the firm says.

The processing license from Health Canada allows Neptune to do contract extraction and product manufacturing for other licensed cannabis companies; it needs further authorization to sell directly to consumers. Last summer, Neptune signed a multiyear extraction, refinement and product formulation contract with Canopy Growth Corp.

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“We’ll do a lot of work for Canopy, there’s no doubt about it, but we will do additional work for companies that share our view,” Neptune CEO Jim Hamilton told Cannabis Professional in September.

In late December, Neptune signed a “multi-year IP licencing and capsule sale agreement” with Swiss biotech firm Lonza for liquid filled hard capsule technology.

High Park, Tilray’s subsidiary focused on the Canadian recreational cannabis market, received a processing license for its 56,000 square-foot facility in London, Ont. The facility will serve as Tilray’s Canadian manufacturing centre for recreational products such as edibles and vaporizer oils, which are expected to become legal later this year.

“The license will also allow High Park to conduct certain research and development activities on new cannabis form factors,” the company said in a press release on Monday.

In December, Tilray announced a partnership with alcohol giant Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV to develop cannabis-infused beverages. Much of the research work will be conducted in the London facility, Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy told Cannabis Professional following the AB InBev announcement.

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