Canada made history in October 2018 becoming the second country (after Uruguay) to legalize cannabis for adult-use.

The Canadian cannabis (r)evolution is not completed, however, as Health Canada is delaying the legalization of edibles, beverages, and other alternative delivery systems based on cannabis extracts for one year. With the widely recognized negative health effects of smoking, consumers are looking for more healthy and pleasant ways to access cannabis, both for recreational and medical purposes. As a result, there has been an influx of investment throughout the industry in research and development of extract-based products.


Valens GroWorks (CSE:VGW), based in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, is one of the leaders in the charge to develop attractive, brandable, high margin, and healthy products derived from cannabis. Holding three licenses from Health Canada and boasting some of the most advanced facilities in the market, Valens has been actively building the infrastructure and relationships to succeed both in Canada and internationally as cannabis-derived products take over the market.

Recent deals point the way

Valens received a license to cultivate and produce oils under the ACMPR in October. The company’s 25,000 square foot facility had previously been licensed under the Narcotics Control Regulations, and with the two sets of regulations merging as part of the new Cannabis Act, the company has all of the bases covered. Utilizing this facility to research, develop, and perfect its extraction services, Valens is now pursuing European Union GMP certification. These are the strictest standards in the world, and the anticipated certification in 2019 would position Valens for export to most any legalized market.

The company is concurrently building out what will eventually be a 400,000 square-foot greenhouse facility that would supply large volumes of cannabis grown specifically for Valens’ extracts. This in-house supply will allow Valens to develop and commercialize its own brands of products, giving the company complete control throughout the product life cycle.

Until that project is complete and licensed, Valens is pursuing deals like the one it recently announced with GTEC Holdings (TSXV:GTEC). Through an initial four year term, GTEC will ship bulk dried cannabis to Valens. Valens will then derive the requested extracts and oils, sending them back to GTEC for sale. Arrangements like this provide a revenue stream for Valens and offer other licensed producers an avenue to access Valens’ expertise to develop their own products. Future deals could go a step further in this direction, with Valens actually developing the final products for partners on a white label basis.

Valens has also entered into a multi-year extraction agreement with Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED) under which Valens will use its proprietary technology and methodologies to process Canopy’s whole flower and trim into high-grade cannabis resin. The first shipment for extraction processing is expected by the end of December 2018.

In the interview below, Valens GroWorks CEO Tyler Robson provided further insight into what the company is doing, the technology it is developing and what its next steps are in terms of international expansion.

Below is a transcript of our interview with Valens GroWorks CEO Tyler Robson. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Investing News Network: Please give our investor audience an overview of Valens and its vertically-integrated business model.

Valens GroWorks CEO Tyler Robson: Valens is a British Columbia-based cannabis company that focuses on proprietary extraction services for other licensed producers while bringing premium oil-derived products to the Canadian and international retail markets. We have been working diligently to perfect our trade, walking the walk before bringing everything to market. When looking at the trending sales in the United States, flower is on the decline and oils are aggressively rising in each legal state. We believe oils are the future of mass cannabis consumption and Valens has strategically positioned itself to be a key player in the extraction sector with the best equipment and an integral operations team. And I think it’s showing, with our preferred partners and clients being some of the best in the sector, committing to us for years to come before we even put a dollar on the books.

INN: What does it mean to be an ISO 17025-accredited testing laboratory, and a GMP compliant processing facility?

TP: Accreditation is very important to us, because we put consumer safety at the forefront of everything we do. Leading up to legalization, quality is something we knew would suffer as a result of the scaling of indoor and greenhouse cultivation facilities in an attempt to meet significantly larger demand levels in the Canadian market. ‘Growing pains’ is a very real term in this industry. Having said that, it’s extremely important to us at Valens that we continue to set the bar for producers and processors in the industry, to ensure the consumers are getting the products they want.

By being ISO 17025 accredited in our lab, it means we’re not only certified and know what to do, but we’re continuously audited to ensure we’re doing what we say we’re doing. When a product is tested at our facility, you can consider it to be the most accurate and transparent test results available in the sector. Our ISO 17025 accreditation also helps us to hold our industry peers to a standard of quality and transparency we believe the consumer deserves. We want to make industry players accountable for their product, and this is the best way we know how.

By being GMP compliant, it ensures our facilities are on par with some of the best pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world. That means that by having your product processed in our facility, or buying Valens branded products, whether for recreational purposes or medical, your product is handled with the utmost care throughout the entire process. Additionally, being EU GMP certified will allow us to be a player in the international market, by being able to export to essentially any country accepting legal cannabis in the world.

INN: What markets does Valens plan to serve through its products and strategic partnerships?

TR: Valens’ main focus, and what we’ve been so hard at work on, is the production of high-quality cannabis oil to service the future market of edibles, beverages and concentrates (including vape market, etc). As mentioned before, the demand is very steadily increasing in already-available markets, and I am certain Canada will follow closely behind this once these products come online. We will service these markets by providing unparalleled oil extraction and refining services to other companies, as well as creating Valens-branded products that will be sure to stand out against competitors for a variety of reasons.

INN: Please tell us about the SōRSE™ technology. What does it mean for Valens to have access to this via its partnership with Tarukino holdings?

TR: This is a huge opportunity for Valens, as well as for the emerging Canadian ingestibles market (edibles and beverages). Our exclusive agreement to bring Tarukino’s SōRSE™ technology to Canada is a game changer.

SōRSE™ is essentially an emulsion technology that breaks down cannabis oil into protected molecules while making it completely water soluble. When you put oil into water, it doesn’t mix, right? What this technology does is preserve all of the extracted compounds that make up the oil, but formulate it to mix effectively in water. So, much like adding food coloring to water and shaking it up, products using SōRSE™ will be completely homogenous in nature.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that when you ingest cannabis in edible form, your bioavailability (how your body receives the cannabis and its overall effect on you) is so volatile that it cannot be consistently applied. So a lot of people have a hard time trusting edibles. By using the SōRSE™ technology, that bioavailability is significantly increased, meaning our products require less cannabis input (minimizing cost as this is the highest input cost) and users get a much better and more consistent experience. The onset is accelerated from 30 minutes to two hours to just 15 minutes and the offset is decelerated. Usually edibles can last up to 5 hours causing panic in users, but with the SōRSE™ technology the high is limited to 1-2 hours. This allows users to have multiple drinks in one night while trusting the effects of that drink, much like users use alcoholic beverages.

The top selling cannabis-infused beverage in Washington state is Tarukino’s Happy Apple cider. The consumer update of SōRSE™ has already been proven in the market, so the product really speaks for itself. Beyond the IP technology, we also have exclusive rights to Tarukino’s line of cannabis beverages, and we’re very excited to introduce these proven products to the Canadian market.

INN: How is Valens developing an international footprint? Has there been any shift in thinking after seeing the deficit of product in Canada? 

TR: Valens is looking internationally for a variety of reasons. Collaborative minds are a winning approach here at Valens, and for that reason, we are working closely with countries like Australia to bring their markets online. This includes service agreements and supply agreements to bring oils to the medical market, and to provide expertise in extraction as things start to grow, specifically with a partner of ours, MediGrowth Australia.

With regards to the shift in thinking, supply, and even more importantly, good quality supply, is in a massive shortage here in Canada. We are looking at markets like Colombia, specifically licensed producer Eticann, to import cannabis to the Canadian market once that avenue opens up. In the meantime, we will continue to complete the construction of Valens Farms while partnering with other quality licensed producers in our sector to ensure consumers receive the quality products they are after.

CEO interviews are part of investor education campaigns for clients advertising on the Investing News Network. Important news is contextualized by CEOs, and the resulting interviews are disseminated to the Investing News Network audience because they have value to market watchers.

The Investing News Network interviews a CEO for an understanding of their perspective on the company, the investment potential of the company and market news related to the company. The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. 

Progressive Planet Solutions Inc. (TSXV: PLAN) (“PLAN” or “Progressive Planet”), announces that, further to its news releases dated December 22, 2020 and January 7, 2021 the Company has closed its non-brokered private placement financing comprising of 7,500,000 units, at $0.10 per unit, for total gross proceeds of $750,000 .

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 Revive Therapeutics Ltd. (” Revive ” or the ” Company “) (CSE: RVV) ( USA : RVVTF), a specialty life sciences company focused on the research and development of therapeutics for medical needs and rare disorders, is pleased to announce that is has entered into an agreement with Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Leede Jones Gable Inc. as the co-lead underwriters (collectively, the ” Underwriters “), pursuant to which the Underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a bought-deal basis, 20,000,000 units (the ” Equity Units “) at a price of $0.50 per Equity Unit for gross proceeds to the Company of $10,000,000 (the ” Offering “).

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The Australian cannabis market has been maturing since medical marijuana was federally legalised in 2016.

The next year, Food Standards Australia New Zealand legalised low-THC hemp food for human consumption in Australia. The country went on to legalise medical marijuana exports in 2018, allowing medicinal marijuana products developed in Australia to be exported to licenced recipients in countries where the drug is legal.

Recreational cannabis remains federally illegal in the country, but recent legislation shows the door may be opening. In 2019, the Australian Capital Territory passed a bill allowing for the possession and growth of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. The law went into effect on January 31, 2020.

More recently, in late 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration greenlit the sale of low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) through over-the-counter methods without a prescription. The ruling from the Australian regulatory agency is expected to officially come into effect in February 2021.

With these and other changes in the works, Australia’s cannabis industry is projected to have long-term potential. The legal cannabis market in Oceania is expected to be worth US$1.55 billion by 2024, with Australia accounting for 79 percent of the region’s market, Prohibition Partners forecasts.

According to a study from FreshLeaf Analytics, the value of the medical market in Australia reached AU$95 million in 2020, and the firm expects revenue to jump again to over AU$150 million in 2021. In short, Australia’s role in the global cannabis industry will certainly continue to grow.

Here the Investing News Network profiles 10 ASX cannabis stocks with market caps between AU$30 million and AU$225 million. All ASX cannabis stocks below are listed in order of market capitalization from largest to smallest, with data compiled using TradingView’s stock screener on January 12, 2021.

1. Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH)

Market cap: AU$209.83 million

Creso Pharma was the first company to import medical cannabis into Australia and the first to launch these products in Switzerland for people, as well as animals. The cannabis company’s anibidiol product was the first hemp CBD complementary feed in animal health thanks to a partnership with Virbac Switzerland. Creso Pharma has also launched cannaQIX in Switzerland; it was the first CBD nutraceutical in human health.

The company’s medicinal cannabis product lines cover therapeutics, nutraceuticals, animal health, lifestyle and topicals.

2. Cann Group (ASX:CAN)

Market cap: AU$176.84 million

Cann Group provides a range of medicinal cannabis products for patients in Australia and globally. In 2017, the company was granted Australia’s first cannabis research licence, as well as the first medicinal marijuana cultivation licence. Cann Group partners with leading medical scientists in Australia to research and harness the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids, terpenes and other bioactive constituents of cannabis.

The company has secured supply agreements in global cannabis markets, including the UK, Germany and other European segments.

3. Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL)

Market cap: AU$166.42 million

Incannex Healthcare is a clinical-stage cannabinoid medicine company with global export capacity. It has four clinical programs underway for the development of a variety of cannabis medicinal products aimed at major unmet medical needs, including obstructive sleep apnea, traumatic brain injury/concussion, sepsis-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome and temporomandibular joint disorder.

In 2020, the company worked to advance its clinical trials. By the second half of the year, cannabinoid products accounted for Incannex’s entire revenue stream.

4. Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT)

Market cap: AU$131.37 million

Botanix Pharmaceuticals has a product pipeline that includes three advanced clinical programs using synthetic cannabidiol for the topical treatment of serious skin diseases and for antimicrobial applications. The company also has an exclusive licence to use a proprietary drug-delivery system called Permetrex for direct skin delivery of pharmaceuticals.

Botanix Pharmaceuticals’ programs are focused on treating acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis and microbial infection. The company secured a clear development path for its BTX 1801 synthetic cannabidiol antimicrobial product after the successful completion of a pre-investigational new drug meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration.

5. Althea Group Holdings (ASX:AGH)

Market cap: AU$114.2 million

Althea Group Holdings takes the concept of medical cannabis a step further with its work as a pharmaceutical-grade cannabis supplier. In addition to offering relief through accessible medical cannabis, the company is implementing components of the plant in its research on advanced drugs.

Althea has successfully expanded into the global cannabis market with a wholesale supply agreement to import a range of Althea-branded finished products for sale and distribution in South Africa beginning in Q2 2021. This agreement came on the heels of the news that the company is slated to become the first commercial supplier of Australian medicinal cannabis extract products to the German market, with all necessary licences for sale and distribution granted by the German government.

6. Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD)

Market cap: AU$113.79 million

Zelira Therapeutics’ efforts are on unmet clinical needs and on using medicinal cannabis to treat a range of diseases and disorders. Its most common target areas include pain, anxiety and sleep.

Zelira is largely focused on developing treatment options using plant-based medicinal marijuana, and currently has three clinical-stage programs with a focus on insomnia, autism and opioid reduction. The company is also conducting a pre-clinical research program to test cannabinoids in breast, brain and pancreatic cancer.

7. Medlab Clinical (ASX:MDC)

Market cap: AU$75.51 million

Medlab Clinical is a medical research and development company focused on novel biotherapeutics such as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. The company is also developing pharmaceutical cannabis products.

In early 2020, Medlab Clinical launched the NanaBis Observation Study in Australia. NanaBis is a cannabis-based pain treatment drug that may prove useful as an alternative to opioid medication. It is also being used to investigate cancer pain management.

8. BOD Australia (ASX:BDA)

Market cap: AU$49.25 million

BOD Australia is focused on cannabis and hemp-related products. It develops, distributes and markets health and skincare products created using plant-based extracts in Australia. The company secured a foothold in the European cannabis market in 2020 with a AU$200,000 purchase order for four Swiss-branded hemp seed oil products to be sold in France, the Netherlands and the UK.

BOD Australia’s reach in Australia ranges from selling prescription and over-the-counter products to more than 1,000 outlets, such as pharmacies, retail stores and healthcare chains. It also has distribution agreements with two pharmacy wholesalers in Australia.

9. IDT Australia (ASX:IDT)

Market cap: AU$42.47 million

One of Australia’s oldest listed life science companies, IDT Australia is a pharmaceutical manufacturing company with extensive experience in the development and production of pharmaceutical products. Through its GMP-compliant facilities, the company provides full-scale services for new drug development, plus scale-up and commercial active drug manufacturing for local and international clients.

IDT Australia’s clients include Cann Group; IDT Australia is the manufacturer of the medical cannabis products that are a part of two of Cann Group’s export supply agreements with European and UK partners.

10. MMJ Group Holdings (ASX:MMJ)

Market cap: AU$31.04 million

MMJ Group Holdings has a wide range of cannabis investments, including healthcare products, technology, infrastructure, logistics, processing, cultivation, equipment, retail and research and development.

Among other companies, it has invested in Harvest One Cannabis (TSXV:HVT,OTCQB:HRVOF), which develops health and wellness products; Fire & Flower Holdings (TSXV:FAF,OTCQX:FFLWF), a recreational cannabis retailer that’s developed a variety of cannabis products and accessories; and MediPharm Labs (TSXV:LABS,OTQQX:MEDIF), a cannabis extraction company that received its cannabis oil production licence from Health Canada in 2018. MediPharm Labs has launched cannabis extraction services in Australia.

Investor takeaway

The presence of these ASX-listed cannabis companies shows that the cannabis industry in Australia is undoubtedly growing, as are investment opportunities in Australia’s cannabis industry. While recreational marijuana remains illegal in the land down under, the medical cannabis industry is thriving, making that side of the sector worth considering.

So far, Australia has no timeline attached to the legality of recreational use of marijuana, but it will be a story to watch over the coming years for those interested in the space.

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Legal cannabis is spreading. According to a new report by Grand View Research, the global legal marijuana market is expected to reach US$73.6 billion by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent.

A survey of over 1,000 US consumers found that the modern cannabis user is largely representative of the general population. Moreover, cannabis consumption today blurs the lines between strictly recreational or medical. In fact, more than 50 percent of consumers report using cannabis for both purposes. As THC and CBD products make their way into an even wider array of product categories, our frame of reference for the modern cannabis user will continue to evolve.

In 2019, the medical cannabis market took home a leading revenue share of 71 percent, driven by the widespread adoption of cannabis as a pharmaceutical alternative for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and more. A growing need for effective pain management therapies is expected to boost product demand even further.

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Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (TSXV:KHRN) is a vertically-integrated medical cannabis company fully licensed to conduct its core operations in Colombia.Send me an Investor Kit

Major telehealth platforms in the medical cannabis industry

Telehealth represents the intersection between innovative technology and the forefront of medical science. While remote medical practice saw its beginnings more than half a century ago, recent technological advancements have connected more patients to physicians than ever before.

In the US, platforms like NuggMD and IndicaMD provide patients with an online medical cannabis card that enables remote purchase of the drug. Patients can meet with physicians over secure video chat and can be approved to access cannabis within minutes. Physicians typically follow-up with patients by email, recommending the types of cannabis that would best alleviate their ailments and ensuring that they don’t purchase the wrong products. Other platforms exist to oversee the rapid delivery of cannabis and hemp products to patients across participating states.

Other parts of the world are undergoing the same transition. It has been more than eight years since Colombia — a country that represents more than a quarter of the world’s total export quotas — decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the drug, and roughly four years since the country legalized medical cannabis. In 2019, Colombia’s Constitutional Court overruled a ban on the public consumption of cannabis, which many considered a stepping stone toward full legalization. Recently, Colombia became one of the first countries in the world to extend national health insurance for patients requiring medical cannabis as a first-line therapy.

Khiron Life Sciences (TSXV:KHRN) was the first firm in Colombia authorized to sell both high and low THC formulations of medical cannabis. The company owns a telehealth platform that has accounted for over 5,600 medical cannabis prescriptions issued to date. Additionally, in June 2020 the company’s Doctor Zerenia telehealth platform was responsible for 14 percent of Khiron’s total medical consultations.

Since becoming the first company to fill medical cannabis prescriptions in Colombia, Khiron reports that 92 percent of its patients have experienced a marked improvement in their primary condition after four months of treatment. In light of these results, the Government of Colombia issued a directive that Khiron’s medical cannabis products and clinic services be covered by the country’s major health insurance providers. While countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic have taken similar legislative actions, a key difference in Colombia is that cannabis is considered a first line therapy with a vast array of applicable medical conditions. With more than 94 percent of Colombia’s population carrying health insurance policies, Colombia is quickly becoming one of the most favourable jurisdictions in the world for patient access; moreover, it has been shown that patient uptake is significantly increased by insurance coverage.

The next step forward for telehealth platforms includes opportunities such as virtual patient education and the fast, reliable delivery of essential drugs such as medical marijuana. Virtual care is also expected to expand across different types of patients, including those requiring intensive care. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many long-term care facilities have already adapted remote patient monitoring to maintain the safety of staff and patients.

The focus: Accessibility and improving patient outcomes

Medical marijuana has the power to improve patient outcomes across demographics. In the wake of groundbreaking research, patients, physicians and retailers are working together to increase the drug’s accessibility for patients who require relief from a range of health conditions. Telehealth platforms have been instrumental in not only increasing accessibility to medical marijuana, but also in improving quality of life across diverse populations of people.

A recent study completed by Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC,TSX:WEED) in November 2020 found the absence of long-term toxicity despite long-term usage of CBD in a preclinical model, supporting the advancement of recent initiatives aimed at discovering CBD’s full range of therapeutic benefits. While CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) offer many of the same benefits, high levels of THC are responsible for most of cannabis’s psychoactive effects.

While the chronic pain segment dominated the medical cannabis market in 2019, application toward mental illness is expected to witness the fastest growth over the seven-year forecast period. Worldwide, a growing number of people suffer from depression, anxiety and other debilitating mental conditions with few low-risk pharmaceutical alternatives.

Medical cannabis is also becoming more popular among older adults. A recent study highlighted that cannabis use among individuals aged 65 and older has been steadily increasing, a trend that is consistent with reports from physicians who recommend cannabis in their daily practices. In the face of growing public acceptance and reduced stigma, we are beginning to see an increasing number of older adults rely on cannabis for relief against chronic pain, insomnia, neuropathy, anxiety and other conditions that traditionally call upon pharmaceuticals.

Much of the momentum in the medical cannabis market can be owed to the rise of telehealth platforms and health digitization efforts, increasing ease of access and promoting transparency. Over the next decade, legalization, increased awareness and the rise of remote medicine are expected to facilitate growth, creating lucrative opportunities for market stakeholders.

Takeaway

Telehealth platforms represent one of the easiest ways for patients, providers and retailers to collaborate remotely and fulfill needs faster. As more physicians and policymakers begin to recognize digital health tools as an advantage for maximizing efficiency and safety in health care, existing medical cannabis platforms are well-positioned to take advantage of a large-scale digital transition.

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 BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) (the “Company” or “BioHarvest”) invites its shareholders and the general public to join a Live Video Conference (“Webinar”) on Thursday, January 21st, 2021 at 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time). Ilan Sobel, CEO of BHSC, will host the event and discuss progress on Bioharvest’s Growth Plan, which will include highlights of the 2020 milestones achieved, key business capabilities built, and will provide an important overview of 2021 Priorities.

The presentation will be approximately 35 minutes, followed by a live question and answer session.

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