Targeting Australia’s Pharmaceutical-Grade Cannabis Market
This profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
Asterion Cannabis Inc. is a vertically-integrated Canadian cannabis company with operations in Australia. The company aims to be a leader in precision agriculture and to produce high-quality, low-cost and genetically-uniformed cannabis strains and products. To achieve this aim, Asterion is developing a 40-hectare, or 4.3 million square foot, pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis facility in Southeast Queensland, Australia.
Asterion’s Queensland purpose-built facility will be built in three phases. Pending the approval of their cultivation and sales licenses, the company intends to plant their first crop after Phase 1 has been completed. Once the facility is fully built-out, it is expected to produce over 500,000 kilograms of cannabis annually, allowing Asterion to help meet the demands of the Australian medicinal cannabis market.
Asterion has also strategically aligned themselves with PreveCeutical Medical Inc. (CSE:PREV,OTCQB:PRVCF,FWB:18H), a preventive health sciences company focused on developing preventive medicine, to develop new cannabis-based preventive and curative therapies. The partnership with PreveCeutical plays into Asterion’s future product offerings, which could include tinctures, oils, edibles, flower and gelatin capsules with a variety of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations.
Asterion’s management team has over 120 years of combined experience in medicinal cannabis, renewable energy, capital markets, among other sectors, across North America, Oceania, Europe, Africa and Asia. Recent additions to the Asterion management team include COO Hamish Sutherland, who has experience in developing successful cannabis companies and was responsible for the first legal transfer of live cannabis plant material from Holland to Canada.
- Developing a state-of-the-art 4.3-million-square-foot facility in Southeast Queensland, Australia.
- Southeast Queensland receives over 2,400 hours of sunlight annually.
- Will plant first cannabis crop after Phase 1 of construction is complete.
- Projected annual production of over 500,000 kilograms of cannabis once operational.
- Future product lines may include tinctures, oils, edibles, flower and gelatin capsules.
- Awaiting approval for cultivation and sales licenses.
- Strategic partnerships in place with PreveCeutical and White Sheep Corp.
- Management has over 120 years of combined experience in medical cannabis, renewable energy, capital markets, among other sectors across the globe.
The Australian Cannabis Market
In early 2016, Australia passed the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act, which allowed the government to create a licensing and permitting framework to regulate the cultivation and production of medicinal cannabis and cannabis products. The act also permitted the use of cannabis in research. Since then, the cannabis market in Australia has continued to grow and is forecasted to reach $1.2 billion in 2027. In part, the growth can be attributed to the government’s announcement that it will allow cannabis companies to export the plant.
Asterion is constructing one of the largest greenhouses in the world in Southeast Queensland, Australia. The company has partnered with Van Der Hoeven, Wiley (NYSE:JW.A) and RCP to complete the project. Each company brings a wealth of expertise and experience in creating, engineering and designing large-scale projects across the globe.
At 4.3 million square feet the state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility will feature state-of-the-art, purpose-built and good manufacturing practices (GMP) certified greenhouses with a focus on producing high-quality organic medicinal cannabis with generally uniform strains. The facility will also feature extraction, processing and distribution capabilities as well.
The greenhouses will be built out in three phases. Phases 1 and 2 will consist of 10 hectares each and Phase 3 will focus on the final 20 hectares. Each greenhouse will utilize PV cells, which will capture the 2,400 to 3,000 hours of sunlight Southeast Queensland receives per year. Pending the approval of their sales and cultivation licenses and the completion of Phase 1, Asterion intends to plant its first harvest and fast-track the facility into production.
Once the facility is complete, it will be able to annually produce over 500,000 kilograms of medicinal cannabis and help meet the needs of the growing Australian cannabis market.
Partnerships and Agreements
In September 2018, Asterion entered into a joint venture and development agreement with PreveCeutical, a preventive health sciences company that develops innovative options for preventive and curative therapies that utilize organic and nature identical products. Asterion and PreveCeutical plan to develop a range of medicinal cannabinoid products with the aim of treating various ailments, such as chronic pain, inflammation, epilepsy and anxiety disorders. Some of the products that may be developed include sublingual tablets, transdermal patches, among other products.
In November 2018, Asterion entered into a consulting agreement with White Sheep, a commercial operator and investor in global cannabis assets with operational expertise in building state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation facilities that meet regulatory and compliance standards. White Sheep will be providing their input to Asterion as they build out the company builds out its cultivation facility in Queensland, Australia. Under the terms of the agreement, White Sheep President and CEO Hamish Sutherland has been appointed as Asterion Cannabis’ COO and will be responsible for overseeing the construction of the facility.
“Asterion is pleased to welcome Hamish Sutherland and White Sheep to lead our operations in Australia,” says Asterion Chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer. “Mr. Sutherland’s exceptional experience, including seven years working with Austrade (the Australian Trade and Investment Commission) and five years in legal Canadian cannabis operations, combined with the vision of the Asterion founders, has the potential to create real financial value for Asterion and its shareholders.”
Stephen Van Deventer — Chairman and CEO
Stephen Van Deventer is an experienced business person and corporate director. Specialising in international corporate relations and business development over the last 25 years, he has focused on launching small to medium-sized companies into the public markets in Canada, the US and Europe. He spearheaded the financing and RTO of Aurora Cannabis, after helping to create its structure and provide strategic direction. In addition, he has raised financing for Hempco, one of the world’s largest industrial producers of hemp and hemp products, and coordinated Aurora’s strategic investment in Hempco.
Paget Hargreaves, MBA, GCM — President, Director and Secretary
Paget Hargreaves has over 30 years’ experience in business development, investment, financing and management across the property, infrastructure, energy and resource sectors in the UK, Asia and Australia. Over the past 10 years, he has focused in particular on the development of and investment in the natural resources and renewable energy sectors. Hargreaves is a founder and director for Industrial Energy Systems (Australia) Pty Ltd, a company that provides BOO/T leasing solutions to companies for solar thermal energy systems.
He was previously a director at Sundrop Farms, an innovative company operating in the food, energy and water space, where he helped develop and establish the world’s first greenhouse facility utilizing the sun’s solar thermal properties to desalinate sea water and produce food that is grown year round with no pesticides or carbon footprint.
Hamish Sutherland, MBA — COO
Hamish Sutherland is the CEO of White Sheep Corp. Over the past 30 years, he has overseen hundreds of millions of investor dollars and built start-ups on three continents. He is one of few that has hands-on experience in developing a successful cannabis company and has passed over 50 inspections by Health Canada. He also managed the first legal transfer of live cannabis plant material from Holland to Canada, as well as the “greenfield” construction and commissioning of Bedrocan’s 52,000 square foot. state-of-the-art automated facility.
As the former Investment Commissioner, for the Australian Trade Commission, Sutherland was responsible for establishing 17 offshore companies entering North America for the first time and guiding $100 million in direct investment and acquisitions between Australian and Canadian companies.
Shabira Rajan, MBA, CPA, CGA — CFO and Director
Shabira Rajan is a senior financial executive with over 20 years of experience, leading the financial discipline for successful businesses in both private and public sectors. Rajan has a track record of providing leadership for strategic value creation and continuous improvement, as well as, providing effective direction to organisations on issues relating to corporate governance, financial oversight and risk management. She was the Director of Finance at Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc., which planned and constructed a $2 billion rapid transit system in metro-Vancouver, on time and within budget.
Kimberly Van Deventer — Corporate Secretary and Director
Kimberly Van Deventer is an entrepreneur with a successful track record of accomplishment. Motivated and determined, she was ranked as the third highest grossing female business owner in British Columbia in 2009. She is a driving force behind the business and is unwavering in her commitment to bringing awareness of health and disease prevention to people everywhere.
Van Deventer partnered with Stephen Van Deventer in the financing and RTO of Aurora Cannabis as well as the financing for Hempco, one of the world’s largest industrial producers of hemp and hemp products and coordinated Aurora’s strategic investment in Hempco.
Stewart McGlashan, MBA (Exec), Ph.D. and BE (Hons), GAICD — Director of Project Development
Dr. McGlashan brings over 20 years of experience as a business manager, inventor and investor while operating in a global capacity within the agribusiness, food, energy, engineering, clean technology and environmental sectors. He brings a diverse portfolio of experiences and a unique skill set that applies to challenging projects requiring different approaches to build success and business resilience. Dr. McGlashan has previously taken companies from early-stage development to producing commercial outcomes in the biodegradable plastics, waste-to-energy, renewable fertilizers, waste processing, biofuels and biosecurity technology industries.
Tony Vespa — Director
Tony Vespa began his career in the early 1980s with Pitfield MacKay Ross Ltd., which later merged with Dominion Securities Ltd. Subsequently, he joined Burns Fry Ltd. He is a seasoned Angel Investor and investment consultant with 35 years of experience in the financial industry specializing in startups and corporate restructurings to small- and medium-sized listed companies.
Harry Parekh, Ph.D., MRPharmS — Head of Research and Development
Dr. Parekh is a leading expert in the research into the testing and identification of cannabis strains for development and commercialization. Based at the University of Queensland’s (UQ) Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence (PACE), Dr. Parekh is the CRO of PreveCeutical Medical Inc. (Canada), while also holding adjunct positions at the National University of Singapore, and Manipal University, India. Dr. Parekh heads the Drug/Gene Delivery Group at PACE-UQ with his team developing highly innovative and translational medicine delivery systems in-conjunction with physicians whose expertise span cancer, obesity-&-diabetes, macular disease, infectious disease and traditional (Chinese) medicine.
Steven Looi, BEcon, MBA — Director of Origination
As a successful cannabis investor and Director of Origination at White Sheep Corp, Steven Looi brings an extensive industry network and product expertise to the Asterion team. His track record for creativity and innovation in disruptive industries is augmented with his experience in IT, urban agriculture and retail. Looi is also a serial entrepreneur and has created new companies in both Canada and China, ranging from soil-less food production, to pharmacy patient management systems and video game art sourcing. He is also a recipient of a Parliamentary Award for his experimental urban farm and UpStream Aquaponics.
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