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Beleave Inc. (CNSX:BE) is a Canadian biotech company focused on becoming an authorized licensed producer of medical-grade cannabis under Health Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, First Access Medical, has reached the final stage in the licensing process—Pre-license Inspection. To date, all the public companies which have made it to this crucial stage have gone on to receive Licensed Producer status.
The First Access Medical production facility is located near Hamilton, Ontario and has the backing of the city of Hamilton’s Planning & Economic Development Department. In fact, Beleave’s team helped the department write the medical marijuana guidelines for the city of Hamilton. As per the ACMPR license approval requirements, the Facility Inspection will soon be underway. Once the license is approved, Beleave is expected to commence operations immediately.
Beleave’s second focus is the development of proprietary cannabis extracts that can be used in the therapeutic treatment of a wide-range of illnesses. This branch of the business vertically integrates well with the company’s cultivation operation. Beleave has partnered with a leading research team at Ryerson University to extract and isolate unique cannabis compounds which will be evaluated under clinical trials for safety and efficacy.
In an effort to build a top-tier medical marijuana company, Beleave has assembled a renowned team of experts across different fields, each with a strategic role in propelling the company forward. Beleave considers its team as its greatest asset and a distinct advantage over its peers.
Beleave’s CEO, Dr. Roger Ferreira, is a neuroscientist whose area of research is particularly relevant to medical marijuana, specifically particular strains of medical marijuana which have the potential to not only alleviate symptoms of disease, but also reduce brain inflammation and disease progression. Chris Murphy, a member of Beleave’s Board of Directors, is also a director of Star Produce Ltd., one of Canada’s largest distributors of fresh fruit and vegetables. Murphy’s experience in logistics, food safety, greenhouse operations, and tracking systems as well as his industry connections with greenhouses, distribution networks and retailers across North America, make him an invaluable member of the Beleave team. Dr. David Naranjit has worked in the field of analytical chemistry for decades. His extensive research background and expertise in analytical chemistry applications make him an excellent choice as an Advisor to Beleave in the development of proprietary cannabis extracts.
Dana Gidlow, Head of Veteran Affairs and Community Outreach for Beleave, is President of the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association, having served in the Canadian Forces Reserve Army from 1968 to 2011 when he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He also served in the Toronto Police Service for 34 years and retired as a Supervisor in 2008. Gidlow’s role at Beleave also includes ensuring the facilities adhere to the highest in security standards. Paul Evanov heads Marketing and Advertising for Beleave and has extensive experience in mass media marketing. Evanov is the Executive Vice President at Evanov Radio Group, Canada’s largest independent radio broadcaster which has 2.7 million weekly listeners across 18 radio stations. Andrew Wnek, head of the Audit & Compensation Committee/Finance and Capital Markets Advisory for Beleave, has held senior finance roles with Canadian Tire Corporation including Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration in a twenty-one year career. He also served as the Chief Information Officer for Canadian Tire for over seven years.
- Near-term production with license in pre license inspection
- Production facility (14,500 square feet) complete with a capacity of 550,000 grams of marijuana per year.
- Low-cost expansion planned including 70,000 square foot hybrid greenhouse operation.
- Endorsement by the city of Hamilton.
- Strategically appointed team of respected industry professionals across a wide range of fields.
- Vertically integrated business including medical-grade marijuana production and the development of proprietary therapeutic extracts.
- Actively working towards patents on extraction techniques with clinical trials to follow.
- Tight share structure.
Medical Cannabis Cultivation
Beleave’s wholly-owned subsidiary First Access Medical Inc. has applied for a license to cultivate and sell medical marijuana as outlined by Health Canada’s ACMPR program. The company’s application as of November 2016 is in the Pre-license Inspection stage which involves the verification of the information submitted to Health Canada in the application, including that which pertains to the operations facility located near the city of Hamilton, Ontario. This is the last step before a full license is granted and production can begin.
Beleave plans to begin production immediately upon licensing. The 14,500-square foot indoor facility is complete and the 550,000 grams per year marijuana production has the support of the City of Hamilton’s Planning and Economic Development Department. The facility houses four hospital-grade antimicrobial production rooms and 200 flowering lights, and is equipped with a 15 million-gram capacity storage vault, top-of-the-line security monitoring, data storage, and full IT integration. The operation has access to power from an adjacent solar energy project as well as unlimited water.
Planned Low-cost Expansion
Beleave’s medical marijuana production can be easily and cost-effectively scaled up with the help of industry partners. The company is planning a 70,000-square foot hybrid greenhouse at the current operation site which will significantly drop the per gram cost of production. The current indoor cultivation facility will be re-purposed as a processing plant.
Developing Proprietary Cannabis Extracts
Beleave has partnered with Ryerson University on a collaborative drug standardization research project with the goal of developing medical-grade cannabis extracts for their potential use as pharmaceutical therapies. Dr. Lesley Campbell, of Ryerson’s department of Chemistry and Biology, is leading the study which employs the advanced extraction and analysis equipment available at the university’s state-of-the-art facility.
The partners are actively working toward patenting extraction techniques. Once patented, the proprietary extracts will be evaluated under clinical trials for their therapeutic potential. The partnership’s work greatly adds to Beleave’s intellectual property portfolio and enhances the company’s ability to move products toward commercial production.
Roger Ferreira, Ph.D.—Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Roger Ferreira received his PhD training in the area of neuroimmunology, with a particular focus on the physiological mechanisms by which brain inflammation can be curbed. Dr. Ferreira has authored several peer-reviewed publications in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, Frontiers in Cellular Immunology, and the Public Library of Science. His area of research is particularly relevant to medical marijuana, as there is strong pre-clinical evidence that cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive ingredient, can limit the ability of brain immune cells to cause excessive inflammation, an exciting area of research that will reveal how particular strains of medical marijuana have the potential to not only alleviate symptoms of disease, but also reduce brain inflammation and disease progression. In addition, Dr. Ferreira brings his extensive training in microbiology and analytical chemistry to First Access Medical’s quality assurance process. He will be responsible for overseeing all marijuana quality assurance testing provisioned under the MMPR, and applies his substantial training in laboratory management at the University of Toronto, and Toronto Western Research Institute (University Health Network) to oversee all good production practice.
Bojan Krasic—Chief Financial Officer
Bojan Krasic has spent 5 years as an investment banker in Toronto. He began his career with Thomas Weisel Partners Canada Inc. and later joined Stifel Nicolaus Canada Inc. Krasic has experience in finance structuring, providing valuations, fairness opinions, exchange listings and various merger and acquisition transactions. His experience has enabled him to establish and service as CEO of Terrella Capital. He holds an honours degree from the University of Toronto in Finance and Economics, and a Master’s Degree in Investment Management with a specialization in Capital Markets from Concordia University. Through his role as CFO of Beleave Krasic has helped develop various partnerships including legal, financial, and business development spectrums. He was instrumental in assisting in raising capital and has played an integral role in developing security and record keeping protocols.
Bill Panagiotakopolous—Chief Operations Officer
Bill Panagiotakopoulos has spent ten (years in the Soil/Land Remediation industry as the Owner and CEO of Cardinal Group’s Earth Works division – a company specializing in ground water remediation. In this capacity he has successfully devised and implemented numerous cost-effective bioremediation solutions that convert contaminants into harmless by-products and are environmentally safe in residential, commercial properties and salvage yards. Panagiotakopoulos has also spent five years as President and CEO of Hamilton Solar, where he successfully developed a 250 kW Solar Tracking generating plant for the Ontario Power Authority’s, Feed-In-Tariff program for renewable energy. He has built Ontario’s first large scale Elevated Solar Tracking farm on commercial land. Panagiotakopoulos continues to use his resources as a seasoned veteran in managing construction projects to develop the project into becoming the most efficient and cost effective MMPR project.
Andrew T. Wnek—Audit & Compensation Committee/Finance and Capital Markets Advisory
Andrew Wnek is a senior financial executive with significant retail, oil and gas and not for profit industry experience. He has held senior finance roles with Canadian Tire Corporation including Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration in a twenty one-year career. Wnek also developed strong technology knowledge as the Chief Information Officer for over seven years for Canadian Tire. Most recently, he was the National CFO for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Wnek has served on several Boards including as Finance Chair for six years on the Royal Conservatory of Music Board and as Audit Committee Chair for Momentum, a technology service provider.
Chris Murphy—Distribution and Operations, Director
Chris Murphy is a Toronto-based regulatory and criminal lawyer. He sits on the board of directors of Star Produce Ltd., one of Canada’s largest distributors of fresh fruit and vegetables with more than 100 offshore programs and 200,000 square feet of refrigerated distribution space. Murphy brings to Beleave a wealth of experience in logistics, food safety, greenhouse operations, and information systems capable of tracking product from seed to sale. He has broad experience and industry connections with greenhouses, distribution networks and retailers across North America, we welcome him on board as an invaluable asset that will assist in all areas of our business from production practices, expansion plans to sales. Murphy is a former drug prosecutor with the Department of Justice Canada. Before becoming a prosecutor, he acted as a judicial law clerk at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. He also practiced civil litigation at a firm of some 150 lawyers in Calgary, Alberta. In addition, he served as a special constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Dana Gidlow—Head of Veteran Affairs and Community Outreach, Director
Dana Gidlow is President of the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association, an organization formed in 1922, which is comprised of veterans of armed conflicts either with past service in Military Units, United Nations Peace Keeping Operations or service in Reserve Units with postings to areas of conflict such as Afghanistan. Gidlow served in the Canadian Forces Reserve Army from 1968 to 2011 when he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 43 years of service. In his time in the Canadian Forces, Gidlow did three tours, most recently to Afghanistan where he advised the Afghan National Police on site security. He will also play an important role in ensuring our facilities adhere to the highest in security standards. In addition to Gidlow’s service in the Canadian Forces, he served in the Toronto Police Service for 34 years and retired as a Supervisor in 2008. In this time, he worked on the Major Crime Unit, as a Criminal investigations Detective, and even as a Media Awareness Instructor. He was also deployed to Kosovo as an International Police Officer where among other roles, he investigated in theft and smuggling cases.
David Naranjit—Development of Proprietary Extract Products
Dr. David Naranjit’s work has been in the field of analytical chemistry, particularly in atomic spectroscopy and chromatography. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biology, Ryerson University since 1985, and has taught courses in the above stated areas. Based on Dr. Naranjit’s extensive academic and research background and expertise in analytical chemistry applications and research, he provides expert counsel to the company regarding its on-going research programs and standard practices. Particularly, these programs include, but are not limited to: the development of analytical techniques used to characterize cannabinoid products; advising on quality assurance practices and strategies; and advising on the development of cannabis and cannabis delivery products. This role will specifically include providing general insights into the challenges and solutions in the field of medical cannabis and to provide feedback to management in the areas outlined above.
Justin Kosalka—Development of Proprietary Extract Products
Justin Kosalka has been trained and is experienced in materials, synthetic and analytical chemistry. While earning his master’s degree (MSc), he has had the privilege of presenting his work at various conferences including the 96th Canadian Chemistry Conference (Quebec City, Quebec, 2013) and the Chemistry and Biology Research Symposium at Ryerson University (Toronto, Ontario, 2013). He is experienced in laboratory management and teaching analytical chemistry at a University level. His interests lie in research which encompasses his three areas of expertise. Combining his research interests and his positive outlook on medical marijuana, he is always looking for new and interesting research opportunities in the field. His primary objective will be quality assurance. He will be responsible for evaluating products, ensuring that Health Canada requirements surrounding medical marijuana are not only met but exceeded and that all products are of the highest quality.