The first buds of spring: new cannabis company float shows take up of FCA listing rules

18 May 2021

Those who work in the nascent legal cannabis industry in the UK, including investors and advisors, will be interested to note that a new company operating in the sector plans to list on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) later this week.

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies (OCT) – a firm started out of an Oxford University research programme into medical marijuana – is a biotech company developing cannabis-derived painkillers. Significantly, OCT’s products will mimic or resemble natural cannabinoids, but they will be produced synthetically.

This listing comes after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued new guidance in September 2020 to help medical cannabis companies navigate the difficult legal and regulatory landscape and list on the LSE. The co-founder of OCT specifically referenced this guidance when explaining the decision to list in London.

Despite the expanding market size and significant business activity in this growing sector, only two cannabis companies have listed on the LSE in the nearly nine-month period since the FCA’s guidance was issued.

It remains to be seen the whether OCT’s plans will precipitate more new listings and an accelerated acceptance by UK regulators of companies in this space. However, for those involved in the legal cannabis industry, this may be a welcome sign of the first new shoots of growth this year.

“Neil Mahapatra, OCT co-founder and executive chair, said the decision to list in London followed last autumn’s statement by the Financial Conduct Authority that medicinal cannabis companies were welcome to list in London, as well as investors’ enthusiasm for biotech more broadly.”

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