Cigarette giant Philip Morris International will invest about $20 million in an Israeli start-up that developed a metered-dose vaporiser of raw plants for medical use, Israeli news website Calcalist reported on Tuesday.
As part of the deal, Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical will develop technologies for Phillip Morris that will help reduce health risks associated with smoking, Calcalist said, but provided no further details.
Officials at Syqe would not comment on the report and officials at Philip Morris could not be reached for immediate comment.
Syqe, which was formed in 2011, says it has already developed an inhaler that allows medical cannabis to be delivered in a safe and precise manner.
A study at Rambam Hospital where the cannabis inhaler was examined, reported it both safe and effective. In Israel there is an estimated 24, 000 medical cannabis patients.
The Syqe cannabis inhaler is changing the way medical cannabis users consume the plant, and allows the use of material with the minimum of risk to the health of the patient. The company also has an inhaler for allowing hospitals to provide patients with accurate doses automatically.
The technology turns cannabis into a granulate and allows it to be taken in standardized doses, Syqe says. The company plans to develop similar systems that can be used with other medicinal plants.
The investment by Philip Morris is part of a larger $30 million investment package raised by Syqe Medical. Syqe also receives funds from existing investors, including the investment fund through leading Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, founders of Retalix; Barry Shaked and Brian Cooper are major shareholders in the company and additional smaller private investors.