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Researchers Seek to Solidify Cannabis' Medical Credibility Around the Globe
NEW YORK, May 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Dozens of countries around the world have moved to legalize cannabis in some form, even though the majority of these countries are only allowing cannabis for medical applications. Research has linked cannabis' two main components, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), to treating a variety of medical conditions. The compounds can effectively treat symptoms associated with conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, blood pressure, muscular problems, and even epilepsy. Despite the beneficial uses of cannabis, however, it still remains heavily enforced under international regulations. Regardless, a handful of countries such as Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, and Germany have moved to adopt medicinal cannabis. Still, many countries remain hesitant about entering into the industry due to the legality concern revolving around the plant. However, as clinical trials and research continue to develop, countries are expected to better understand the benefits of cannabis and potentially move towards legalizing its use. Furthermore, according to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 14.5 Billion in 2018. By 2024, the market is projected to reach USD 89.1 Billion, registering a CAGR of 37% during the forecast period. MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTC: MEDIF) (TSX-V: LABS), Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA), Trulieve Cannabis Corporation (OTC: TCNNF) (CSE: TRUL)
The amount of countries that have legalized medical cannabis is very limited, however, those countries represent some of the largest populations in the world. For instance, in 2017, Germany's parliament signed a bill to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients suffering from chronic pain, vomiting, and nausea for relief. Germany's decision reaches over 80 million citizens. Meanwhile, in early 2018, Australia allowed cannabis producers in the region to export medicinal cannabis and products globally. Additionally, Australia also receives imports from international cannabis producers, which can target over 20 million citizens. The large addressable market depicts just how rapidly the cannabis industry has expanded. On the other hand, the U.S. itself accounts for the largest market share, even though cannabis remains federally regulated. Despite these federal limitations, the U.S. government has given states the authority to decide whether to legalize cannabis for themselves. As of 2019, there are only four U.S. states that prohibit any kind of cannabis use. The remaining 46 states, including the District of Columbia, allow the use of cannabis on some level, whether it's for medical, solely CBD use, or even recreational in some states. "As legislation expands rapidly worldwide, the volume of efficacy data is growing, as are legitimate clinical trial studies," says Liam McGreevy, Chief Executive Officer of Ethnopharm, a European cannabis company specializing in genetics and distribution, "This data will enable us to better understand the effects of the various cannabinoids and terpenes, their synergistic effect and how their impact links to the individual's genetics or biomarkers. This data is key to understanding the most effective combinations and strengths for various conditions, moving towards targeted personalized medicines."
MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTCQB: MEDIF) (TSX-V: LABS) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker (TSX-V: LABS). Yesterday, the Company announced, "the appointment of Dr. Paul Tam, MBBS, FRCP(C), FACP to its Board of Directors effective immediately, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals. In connection with the Company's goal of satisfying non-venture requirements for corporate governance and financial oversight, Dr. Tam will also replace Chris Hobbs on the Company's Audit Committee resulting in an Audit Committee fully comprised of independent directors in accordance with National Instrument 52-110 – Audit Committees.
"Dr. Paul Tam is a tremendous addition to our board and will be a valuable independent director and contributor as we continue to deepen our medical expertise through this next phase of growth," said Patrick McCutcheon, Chief Executive Officer, MediPharm Labs. 'Dr. Tam brings significant pedigree and experience in his field and from his tenure with leading pharmaceutical companies. We look forward to benefiting from his guidance as we focus on advancing initiatives for the commercial development of high quality, pharmaceutical-like cannabinoid-based products and active pharmaceutical ingredients for a rapidly growing medical and adult-use market."
With more than three decades of clinical research and medical practice experience, Dr. Paul Tam is a globally recognized expert in the field of nephrology and a pioneer in the development of continuous renal replacement therapy for acute kidney injury. In 1996, Dr. Tam founded the Scarborough Regional Nephrology Program where he is currently Medical Director of the largest community nephrology program in Canada. Dr. Tam oversees a team of thirteen nephrologists that provide renal care to over 900 dialysis patients and 4,000 chronic kidney disease patients and is also an active staff nephrologist at The Scarborough Hospital. Dr. Tam is also the Medical Quality Advisor for three major Independent Health Facilities that provide hemodialysis care.
Dr. Tam has extensive and highly specialized experience in pharmaceutical development having co-founded and acted as the Medical Director overseeing operations and clinical research for a contract research organization which was ultimately acquired by the Biovail Corporation. Dr. Tam served as a Director of Biovail Corporation after the acquisition and he also served as the Medical Director of Contract Research arm of Biovail Corporation. Dr. Tam continues to be active in clinical research and participate in multi-national trials, product commercialization and is a highly respected subject matter author.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to join MediPharm Labs' Board of Directors as the Company continues to lead the way in a brand-new industry that has shown incredible potential to improve people's lives,' said Dr. Paul Tam. 'I look forward to working with the Board and management team to help grow and shape the future of MediPharm Labs as it focuses on developing cannabis-based derivative products in a rapidly expanding global industry."
Dr. Tam also leads and serves on multiple professional and executive governance committees. He is an active member and past Section Chair representing the Nephrology Specialty of the Ontario Medical Association, and active member and past Chair of the Ontario Association of Nephrologists. In the past he has also served on the Boards of Directors for pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Tam received his medical degree from The University of Hong Kong and completed further specialization at the University of Toronto, Canada."
In addition, earlier this week, MediPharm Labs Corp. also announced, "the appointment of Braden Fenske as Chief Strategy Officer effective April 29, 2019. In this newly created executive role, Mr. Fenske will be responsible for advancing the Company's strategic corporate initiatives in collaboration with the Company's executives and operational teams across the company. Leveraging his extensive relationships within the healthcare industry, Mr. Fenske will also focus on accelerating domestic and global growth and expanding strategic partnerships to create additional value and opportunities for MediPharm Labs' new products and growing portfolio of cannabis and non-cannabis customers.
Mr. Fenske brings to the Company 20 years of diverse and highly specialized experience within the global healthcare industry and prior to that the adult beverage industry. Over a 15-year career with the Johnson & Johnson Group of Companies ("J&J"), Mr. Fenske has developed unique and extensive experience within the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors leading product development, marketing, global strategy and operations that spanned multiple therapeutic areas in the U.S. and among global healthcare markets. Most recently, Mr. Fenske served as Group Product Director, Global Strategic Marketing for Biosense Webster Inc., a J&J Company. He managed J&J's Medical Devices' "next billion-dollar new product launch" upon its FDA approval in the USA and CE mark in Europe. Mr. Fenske's previous experience with Mark Anthony Brands Inc. and Molson Coors Brewing Co. also provides unique insights into the recreational consumer and the burgeoning edibles and cannabis based derivative product segments.
"We are thrilled to have Braden join our team at this pivotal moment in our history. With our leading extraction industry performance and momentum, our expanding portfolio of products, increasing customer base and deep pipeline of growth opportunities, we have demonstrated a clear potential for accelerated revenue growth," said Patrick McCutcheon, Chief Executive Officer, MediPharm Labs. "Braden's proven record of success developing operational growth strategies, his unique understanding of the pharmaceutical and medical delivery systems industry, and his U.S. and worldwide healthcare relationships, will strengthen MediPharm Labs' position as a trusted partner for customers, and clinical trials, as we remain at the leading edge of the industry and achieve our growth potential in this rapidly evolving market."
'I am excited to be joining the MediPharm Labs' team positioned at the forefront of this quickly evolving industry with demand for purified concentrates driving growth and innovation," said Braden Fenske, Chief Strategy Officer, MediPharm Labs. "I have been impressed by the depth and caliber of the talented management team, and the Company's compelling platform to be the dominant provider of scaled cannabinoid based derivative products for medical and recreational consumers globally. I look forward to working alongside these outstanding leaders to elevate MediPharm Labs' position as a trusted partner and deliver our next stage of exponential growth.'
About Braden Fenske, Chief Strategy Officer: Braden joins MediPharm Labs from Johnson & Johnson Group of Companies, bringing over 20 years of experience in diverse strategic, commercial, new product planning, and business development roles predominantly in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices industries.
Most recently, Braden served as Group Product Director, Global Strategic Marketing for Biosense Webster Inc., a J&J Company, with more than 1,300 professionals in 40 countries around the world, recognized worldwide as a leader in the science behind the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. At Biosense Webster, he led the strategy and execution of J&J's "most important New Product launch in the last decade" and facilitated product development from Research & Development through to commercial launch.
In his 15-year career with J&J in Canada and the USA (J&J Medical Devices, Biosense Webster Inc., Janssen Inc.), Braden held progressive roles on an accelerated leadership path and was highly awarded with multiple wins in President's & Performance Clubs, Standards of Leadership and President's Innovation.
During his tenure with J&J, Braden also led various global marketing initiatives for medical devices, driving corporate strategy and innovative product launches to optimize market share and revenue. Earlier in his career, Braden worked at both Mark Anthony Brands Inc. and Molson Coors Brewing Co. with leadership development roles in sales, marketing and trade promotions. Braden holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta."
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Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) is a globally diversified and vertically integrated cannabis company with a presence across five continents. Cronos Group Inc. recently announced that the CAD 2.4 Billion equity investment in the Company by Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) had closed. As previously announced, Altria's investment represents an approximate 45% ownership interest in Cronos Group. Altria also has a warrant to acquire additional ownership in Cronos Group, which is exercisable over the next four years. If exercised in full, the warrant would increase Altria's ownership in Cronos Group to approximately 55% and provide Cronos Group with additional proceeds of approximately CAD 1.4 Billion. "We are delighted to close this transaction and kick-off a relationship that we expect to lead to significant growth and value creation," said Mike Gorenstein, Cronos Group's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Altria's investment and the services they will provide to Cronos Group will enhance our financial resources, and allow us to expand our product development and commercialization capabilities, and regulatory expertise to better position Cronos Group to compete, scale and lead the rapidly growing global cannabis industry. We look forward to the many opportunities we expect this relationship to create."
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 24 countries across five continents, is one of the world's largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. and EnWave Corporation (TSX-V: ENW) recently announced that the companies have entered into a royalty-bearing commercial license agreement, providing Aurora with the exclusive rights to EnWave's patented Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV™) drying technology for the production of cannabis materials in the European Union, excluding Portugal. Aurora has also secured exclusive license options for both Australia and South America, excluding Peru, exercisable pursuant to minimum REV™ machine purchase order requirements. Additionally, Aurora has signed a non-exclusive sub-license to use REV™ technology in Canada. The companies furthermore announce that Aurora has placed a purchase order for two of EnWave's 120kW REV™ dehydration systems for its Aurora Sky and Aurora Sun facilities in Canada, as well as the intention to purchase a third 120kW REV™ dehydration system for its Aurora Nordic facility in Denmark within sixty days. The REV™ dehydration systems will be used to increase the throughput of material for extraction and use in derivative cannabis products. Aurora has also acquired a 10kW pilot-scale REV™ machine for product development, protocol development and R&D. "EnWave's technology offers very significant benefits that further improve the economic returns on our Sky Class facilities," said Terry Booth, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora. "The technology provides us with industrial-scale flow-through, reducing working capital requirements, accelerating time to market from harvest, as well as increasing our ability to produce bulk-sale cannabis for extraction and use in derivative products. Our ownership interest in EnWave and the exclusive license arrangement in many of our current and target markets creates the potential to generate additional financial synergies."
Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, the planet, product quality and innovation. Aphria Inc. recently announced that its German subsidiary Aphria Deutschland GmbH has secured the previously announced license for the domestic cultivation of medical cannabis from the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices ("BfArM"), following the conclusion of a mandatory 10-day standstill period for public contracts. Aphria was granted a cultivation license for four of the nine total lots awarded by BfArM and is awaiting the completion of the tender process for the four remaining lots under review, one of which was provisionally awarded to Aphria Germany. "Aphria thanks the BfArM for their diligent examination and validation of our approach for domestic cultivation with this license," said Hendrik Knopp, Managing Director of Aphria Germany. "Construction on our 8,000 square meter indoor cultivation facility is already underway and we anticipate it will be fully operational by Summer 2020. We are pleased to additionally support German patients in the upcoming months with high-quality imported cannabis flower and oils from Denmark and Canada."
Trulieve Cannabis Corporation (OTC: TCNNF) (CSE: TRUL) is a vertically integrated "seed to sale" company and is the first and largest fully licensed cannabis company in the State of Florida. Trulieve Cannabis Corp. recently announced that it had signed an agreement with Colorado-based Love's Oven, LLC to bring their edible cannabis-infused baked goods, craft concentrates, and other products to Florida's growing patient base. Based in Denver, Colorado, Love's Oven is a family-run cannabis company committed to creating high-quality products, using all-natural ingredients sourced locally and organically, and using a proprietary extraction method designed to ensure consistency and effectiveness. Over the past decade, Love's Oven has built a reputation for crafting clean, natural products while remaining innovative, approachable, and potent. "Love's Oven specifically crafts their products to be the highest-quality available on the market and is dedicated to helping patients achieve relief from everything from chronic pain to insomnia and other ailments. Their products are not only delicious, they're clean, organic, and, most importantly, all natural, which is what Trulieve has focused on since the beginning," said Trulieve Chief Executive Officer Kim Rivers. "Their products are an effective, reliable treatment option for patients seeking relief in innovative ways."
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