Edmonton-based producer Atlas Biotechnologies finalized a deal on Friday to work with Harvard Medicine in what they’re calling a $4 million research collaboration.

Atlas will supply cannabis products and funding to Harvard Medical School for clinical trials on chronic pain and neurological conditions.

“For us, a collaboration with an institution like Harvard, it was kind of a game-changing opportunity that would allow us to not only create a collaboration with a really credible institution, but of course have access the minds that can help us really prove the science behind the plant,” CEO and President Sheldon Croome said.  

The trials are expected to begin next year.

Harvard characterized the deal as its most significant partnership with the medical cannabis industry to date.

Dr. Wil Ngwa, director of Harvard Global Health Catalyst and professor of radiation oncology, said the school was impressed by Atlas’ global vision.

“If you’re a grower and you are not doing this, you’re going to be left behind,” Ngwa told CTV News in a Skype interview Tuesday.

The Ivy League school’s Global Phytomedicine Program is also considered a hub for other universities wanting to research cannabis, including Purdue, MIT and Oxford. In addition to the research work, Harvard will work with Atlas to bring its product to other U.S. post-secondary institutions for research and development purposes.  

Atlas operates a 38,000 square-foot facility northwest of Edmonton.