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Cannabis company Tilray shares jump as much as 22% after announcing deal with Swiss drugmaker Novartis

Key Points
  • Tilray enters a global supply and distribution agreement with Swiss drugmaker Novartis.
  • The marijuana company would work with Novartis' generic drug business Sandoz.
  • It may supply non-smokable and non-combustible medical cannabis products where it is legally allowed.
VIDEO1:2401:24
We are betting on both medical and recreational marijuana, says Tilray CEO

Shares of cannabis company Tilray jumped as much as 21.9 percent in intraday trading Tuesday after the Canadian marijuana producer announced it has entered a global supply and distribution agreement with Swiss drugmaker Novartis.

The company plans to work with Novartis' generic drug business Sandoz and supply non-smokable and non-combustible medical cannabis products where it is legally allowed, Tilray announced in a press release. As a part of the deal, Tilray and Sandoz may co-brand certain products as well as develop new ones.

"This agreement represents a major milestone in the movement to provide access to safe, GMP-certified medical cannabis to patients in need across the world," Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday.

The stock, which was up by about 17 percent in the afternoon, surged by as much as 21.9 percent over Monday's closing price of $65.89 a share to an intraday high of $80.30 a share.

VIDEO3:2603:26
Tilray shares soar on deal with Novartis. Here's what it means for the cannabis industry

In September, Kennedy told CNBC that pharmaceutical companies have to start thinking about partnering with cannabis companies as a "hedge" against the burgeoning marijuana industry. Tilray formed a "strategic alliance" in March with Sandoz to help the drugmaker build this kind of hedge. In return, Novartis would help Tilray co-market and co-develop its products.

Tilray, which has products available in twelve countries, said the deal announced Tuesday builds on the company's mission of making pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products available around the world.

Earlier this year, Tilray announced it had become the first and only company to receive regulatory approval in Canada and Germany to export medical cannabis flower for distribution to German patients.

Shares of Tilray are down than 40 percent over the past month.

—CNBC's Thomas Franck contributed to this report.