MGC Pharmaceuticals’ (ASX: MXC) share price climbed 37% after the European firm gained approval to supply Australian epilepsy sufferers with its CannEpil medical cannabis product.

Israeli entrepreneurs Nativ Segev and Roby Zomer set up the company in 2015 and it now has offices in Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the UK, plus an operation in Perth, Western Australia. Its mission is to be an international pioneer in Phytocannabinoid-based medicine within the biopharmaceutical industry. It cultivates cannabis in Slovenia and the Czech Republic, it has a biotechnical academy in Slovenia focused on producing new strains, and it turns its flower into a range of medicinal cannabis for export markets.

It has now gained approval from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration for its CBD oil, CannEpil, to be prescribed to epilepsy sufferers, and it expects to make it available to this lucrative market in December 2018.

“This is a significant achievement for us and we are very excited at the prospect of ramping up production to a commercial scale and bringing CannEpil to Australia,” said Zomer. “This important step validates MXC’s seed-to-pharma strategy with the start of commercial revenues from our first investigational medicinal product offering.”

Approximately 3% to 3.5% of Australians will experience epilepsy at some point in their lives and over 250,000 Australians are currently living with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Action Australia chief executive called it a “significant milestone” for epilepsy sufferers, and shares in MGC Pharma shot up from 5 cents to 7 cents on the ASX as a result of the news.

MGC has immediately started building a facility in Slovenia to meet demand for CannEpil, which has gained Human Research Ethics Committee endorsement from St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne for the treatment of adult patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Approximately 3% to 3.5% of Australians will experience epilepsy at some point in their lives and over 250,000 Australians are currently living with epilepsy, according to Epilepsy Action Australia. That provides a large market for MGC Pharma to target through a distribution deal with specialist Australian pharmaceutical distributor HL Pharma.

Earlier this month MGC announced a five-year deal to supply Canadian firm CannaGlobal with cannabis products. It gained an initial order for C$1 million ($770,000) for CBD-based skincare products designed to make users’ skin appear firmer and younger. It produces masks, eye cream, skin cream, eye serum, facial cream, night cream, and recovery serum, all from the cannabis it grows in Europe.