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Early Tuesday morning, Tilray Inc. announced it has signed a global supply and distribution agreement for medical marijuana with pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG.

The deal comes after months of work for Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy who said in an interview the deal with give his company a sales and distribution channel in dozens of countries.

In 2017 Tilray signed a similar agreement with the Novartis subsidy Sandoz, which according to Kennedy was the foundation of this larger deal to expand the agreement to the roughly 35 countries around the world where medical cannabis is legal.

The deal is structured as an exclusive partnership, meaning that Tilray will not be allowed to partner with another pharmaceutical company on non-combustible products, and Novartis will not be allowed to partner with another cannabis company.

The two companies will also work together to develop new products, focusing on defined dosages in the non-smokable, non-combustible product lines.

“The key point is that it will allow us to expand into more markets, more quickly,” Kennedy said. “This is an agreement that will take advantage of Sandoz’s global footprint and leverage their brand, which inspires trust and confidence with pharmacists around the world. Also, we can use their sales force to educate physicians and pharmacists around the world — which can be a challenge.”

Tilray's stock price has fallen sharply since its peak in September, but shares were up over 9 percent at midday Tuesday on news of the deal.

Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/tilray-partners-with-novartis-in-big-pharmas-first-deal-of-its-kind-with-big-marijuana-2018-12-18

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