Snoop Dogg-Backed Oxford Cannabinoid Looks to List in London

Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, which counts tobacco giant Imperial Brands Plc and rapper Snoop Dogg among its investors, is set to start trading Friday on the London Stock Exchange.

The company, which develops cannabinoid-based prescription medicines, has raised 16.5 million pounds ($23 million) from wealthy individuals and institutional investors in a placing, giving it a market value of about 51.5 million pounds, Chairman Neil Mahapatra said in an interview.

Snoop Dogg-Backed Oxford Cannabinoid Looks to List in London

Oxford Cannabinoid, known as OCT, is hoping to replicate the success of GW Pharmaceuticals Plc, a British company that made the first drug wholly derived from the cannabis plant to win U.S. FDA approval. It was acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc for $7.2 billion this year.

Being a pharmaceutical company, OCT could have listed before the U.K. market regulator gave the green light for medical pot listings on the LSE in September, but the approval eased its path to market, Mahapatra said. A number of medical marijuana companies have listed in the U.K. this year like consumer-products firm Cellular Goods Plc, which also has a celebrity backer in soccer star David Beckham.

But OCT, which has a research partnership with Oxford University, is looking to set itself apart from recent issuers by stressing its pharma roots. The company plans to use IPO proceeds to develop a portfolio of four drug candidates for approval as licensed pain medicines, with the first commercial sales expected in 2027.

Kingsley Capital Partners, a London-based private equity firm where Mahapatra is a managing partner, will hold nearly 21% of OCT’s share capital upon admission, according to the IPO prospectus. Imperial Brands will have about 11%, while Casa Verde Capital LLC -- the California-based venture firm where Snoop Dogg is a partner -- will have about 2%.

The pain market targeted by the company is estimated to be worth more than 42 billion pounds globally, with the unfolding opioid crisis in the U.S. putting the focus on medication that can help people manage pain without adverse side effects, Mahapatra said. “A cannabinoid overdose could lead to a headache at most, making the substance a far safer alternative to opioid painkillers.”

OCT’s listing is being arranged by States Bridge Capital, which was set up by a group of City bankers including David Hitchcock, who used to be chairman of Grant Thornton’s U.K. banking and securities group, and Jamie Moyes, who helped set up investment bank Liberum Capital.

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