Celadon Pharmaceuticals has become the first UK-based medical cannabis manufacturer to be granted a Home Office licence to sell its products in the UK since government reforms opened up the industry in 2018.

The London-listed company can now pursue supply deals to sell its cannabis oil to specialist private clinics with the right to prescribe medical cannabis, as well as to universities and pharmaceutical companies conducting research and development.

Celadon was previously only allowed to cultivate the plant and manufacture its high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis oil under its Home Office licence.

But on Tuesday, the Home Office updated Celadon’s licence allowing it to sell the product, after its 100,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Birmingham was granted a Good Manufacturing Practice registration by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in January this year.

“It’s a heck of a milestone,” said James Short, Celadon’s chief executive. “But after four years and tens of millions [of pounds] of investment . . . we’ve done it.” Celadon, which was founded in 2018, now expects to be generating revenues by the end of the year and achieve a quarter of positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in 2024.

Shares in Celadon, which is listed on London’s junior Aim market, jumped by 23 per cent on Tuesday afternoon to £1.45, valuing the company at more than £85mn. The company listed early last year and before was then was bankrolled by several high-net worth backers alongside Short himself.

He added that Celadon’s manufacturing plant, which employs 34 staff, can currently cultivate about 3 tonnes of cannabis flower a year, but once manufacturing is ramped up the facility will be able to process closer to 10 tonnes, generating potential revenues of up to £90mn.

The only route to market for a cannabis product in the UK previously was to be approved following clinical trials by the MHRA. British manufacturer GW Pharmaceuticals became the first company to get its cannabis-derived medicine prescribed on the NHS in 2018, before being bought by US drugmaker Jazz Pharmaceuticals for $7.2bn in 2021.

“The UK is now open for business,” said Short. The Department of Health and Social Care estimates that as many as 3mn chronic pain sufferers could be eligible for cannabinoid treatments across the UK. Short described medical cannabis oil as “liquid gold”.

The drug has only been prescribed to an estimated 25,000 patients since it was legalised for medical use in the UK in 2018, according to a study by Professor Mike Barnes, chair of the Cannabis Industry Council. Barnes estimated there were an extra 1,000 patients being prescribed medical cannabis each month.

Short said the approval of a UK-based supplier would ease supply bottlenecks as cannabis oil would no longer have to be imported. “You can only import on a named patient, so you can only import enough product for that patient’s prescription,” explained Short. “Now, we can get a prescription today and within 24 hours we can supply to that patient.”