The medical cannabis space is seeing a radical transformation. With new regulatory changes and supportive legislative actions, the incorporation of cannabis in the medical and pharmaceutical industries presents the perfect storm of investment opportunities that could completely change the game.
Analysts project the global medical cannabis market to reach upwards of US$44.4 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 22.9 percent. Leveraging these outstanding expectations, many pharmaceutical giants such as Novartis have already formed strong partnerships with big players in cannabis such as Tilray to develop and distribute medical cannabis in legal jurisdictions worldwide. With the collision of two major economic industries, investing in this unprecedented unity of cannabis and medical markets presents enormous investment upside potential at global scales.
Avicanna (TSX:AVCN) is a Canadian biopharmaceutical company since 2015 focused on evidence-based utility of cannabinoids and the commercialization of its premium branded medical cannabis products. Its expertly engineered vertically integrated business model and diversified and high-margin income streams are comprehensive, internationally scalable and incorporate strategic national partnerships, like Shoppers Drug Mart.
Avicanna has strong commercial positioning in several commercial markets around the world. This portfolio includes an intellectual property portfolio of products that range from evidence-based and clinically backed skincare products branded as Pura H&W hemp-derived skincare and RHO Phyto branded medical cannabis products. The company also has an extensive pipeline of pharmaceutical drugs and a portfolio of over 60 products developed.
Its supply chain vertical business unit, branded as Aureus Santa Marta, is an established low-cost and sustainable source of cannabinoid actives and seeds with six current international export countries. This unique business operates two majority-owned subsidiaries in Santa Marta, Colombia, with a combined capacity of 30,000 kilograms and a world-class organic and sustainable cultivation operation.
In 2017, Avicanna became the first cannabis company to be accepted into Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS in the heart of Toronto, Ontario. Its expertly engineered scientific platform incorporates world-class R&D and pre-clinical and clinical infrastructure, which are driving new developments in the medical cannabis space. This partnership positions Avicanna amongst some of the world’s most prospective biotechnologically and research-driven companies and legitimizes the company as a visionary for the future of medical cannabis product development.
The company intends to focus on further commercialization of its existing products in 2021. Seeing the success of its proprietary cannabis products, Avicanna expects positive reactions in expanding distribution into the North American marketplace across more channels. It is also currently working on its RHO Phyto global strategy of emerging medical and prescription-only channels and drug registration processing in South America for regulatory approval in major markets such as Brazil, Mexico and Colombia.
The company operates a strong capital structure and shareholder portfolio tightly held by insiders, institutions and strategic investors who are aligned with the company’s long term vision of leading evidenced based cannabinoid medicine at a global level.
In March 2021, Avicanna closed its non-brokered private placement to issue an aggregate of 4,480,000 units at CAD$1.25 per unit for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately CAD$5.6 million. The company intends to put net proceeds toward general working capital purposes.
Avicanna has a world-class management team with a proven track record of success across a diverse profile of industries, including biotech, finance, corporate development and pharmaceuticals. This experienced and accomplished leadership and scientific team primes the company for outstanding growth and revenue generation.
Avicanna’s Company Highlights
- Avicanna is a vertically integrated biopharmaceutical company driving advancements of plant-based cannabinoid-based and medicinal-grade standardized products.
- Avicanna is the first cannabis company to be accepted into Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, in Toronto, Ontario. Placement in this scientific innovation center surrounds the company with some of the most prospective start-up companies pursuing new technologies and research platforms in medical care.
- The recently commercialized company operates with diversified and high-margin income streams. It provides advanced and proprietary cannabinoid products across three categories: hemp-derived consumer retail products and medical cannabis products for commercial markets and a pharmaceutical pipeline in clinical development.
- Avicanna’s organic and sustainable cultivation through its two large-scale Colombian subsidiaries were highest amongst global cannabis companies in the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment issued by S&P Global.
- The following steps for the company include launching RHO Phyto across retail channels in Canada, building deeper clinical and commercial relationships and furthering the commercialization of its cannabinoid products across international markets.
Avicanna’s Key Projects
Pura H&W: Hemp-Derived Consumer Retail Products
Pura H&W is a line of commercial skincare products addressing the emerging global CBD cosmetics segment. Employing functional, evidence-based CBD derma-cosmetics, Avicanna has developed a unique line of 13 premium skincare products supported by clinical results and distributable across medical cannabis, adult-use, retail and online sales channels. The company expects national and international product partnerships and product launch for 2021 in Canada, the US, UK and other markets in South America.
RHO Phyto: Medical Cannabis Products
RHO Phyto is an advanced formulary of over 20 CBD & THC oral, sublingual and topical products taken through industry-leading drug development processes. This strictly medical formulary has the potential to treat primary endpoints and general comorbidities, including anxiety, depression, appetite, pain and sleep. The product line is supported with education and training for patients, physicians, consumers and retailers.
In May 2021, Avicanna launched its initiative to distribute RHO Phyto medical cannabis products to major Canadian hospitals for medical referrals and in-house dispensing. Seven RHO Phyto products will be available for purchase at Sunnybrook Hospital’s Odette Cancer Centre pharmacy by patients that have been issued a written order from an authorized health care practitioner.
Avicanna’s Pharmaceutical Pipeline
Avicanna operates a pipeline of products across several target indications and drug registration pathways, which leverage comprehensive R&D and clinical platforming.
Its intended pharmaceutical pathways include generic pharmaceuticals, natural drug or phytotherapeutic designations and rare disease pharmaceutical pipelines expected for international expansion in 2022.
Avicanna’s Management Team
Aras Azadian, M.Mgmt — CEO
Utilizing his extensive senior management experience in both financial and biotechnology sectors, Aras Azadian co-founded Avicanna with the vision of establishing a biopharmaceutical company with a strict focus on medical and pharmaceutical applications of cannabinoids. His expertise in the biotechnology industry has been integral to Avicanna’s thought leadership pertaining to R&D and clinical development. Since 2016, Azadian has successfully led a team of executives, scientists and medical professionals across several countries with the vision of vertical integration and a strong company focused on quality controls, scientific vigor and competitive advantages.
Azadian holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from York University and an International master’s in management degree from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
Setu Purohit, JD, ICD.D — President and CLO
Experienced in complex corporate and legal strategy and contract negotiations, Setu Purohit’s unique expertise as a lawyer and an entrepreneur has been central to Avicanna’s structure and key global partnerships. As the executive lead for Avicanna’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) process, Purohit encompasses the qualities of an adaptive strategic leader equipped with market awareness, business acumen and an in-depth understanding of Avicanna’s long-term objectives. Purohit spearheads the company’s regulatory navigation with a vision specific to the pursuit of partnerships and commercialization opportunities with high regard for best practices.
Purohit holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Ottawa and a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from the University of Western Ontario.
Dave Sohi, CPA, CA, CBV — CFO
Dave Sohi has been responsible for all financial operations at Avicanna since its inception. A pragmatic financial leader, Sohi has wide-ranging experience in financial management, business leadership, corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions and valuation services. His extensive experience with RSM Richter’s and Ernst and Young’s Transaction Advisory Practices has equipped him with the acumen and vision to deliver exceptional strategic direction, streamlined financial and procedural policies and create monitoring and accountability systems. Sohi spearheads the responsibility for the complete and accurate preparation of all Avicanna teams and subsidiaries for Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Sohi has obtained his Chartered Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator designations and has earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University.
Lucas Nosiglia, MFin — President of Avicanna LATAM
A seasoned entrepreneur and executive with experience across Europe, North America and South America, Lucas has been at the forefront of Avicanna’s Latin America (LATAM) operations since the company’s inception in 2016. His innovative and transformative approach in navigating the cannabis industry and his former involvement in management consulting, finance and health care have been invaluable in establishing and operating the company’s Colombian subsidiaries, including two fully operational cultivation projects. Nosiglia’s experience from working at Deloitte, along with his leadership values, are at the core of his success in leading Avicanna’s largest teams.
Nosiglia graduated with an Honours degree from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Buenos Aires and holds a Masters degree in Finance from EADA in Barcelona, Spain.
Ivana Maric — Executive VP of Marketing
Leading the company’s marketing operations since its inception, Ivana Maric has championed the development, launch and management of all Avicanna’s brands and product lines globally. A trailblazer with significant experience in traditional and digital media platforms, advertising, brand development and awareness across several sectors, Maric utilizes her previous experience and thorough comprehension of the evolving landscape of the cannabis industry, its trends and challenges. Her former experience as the Director of Marketing for Ophiuchus Consulting Group and leading numerous marketing efforts and brand launches for start-up companies has been central to Avicanna’s exponential and continued growth. Maric has a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing Management from Ryerson University.
Dr. Frantz Le Devedec, Ph.D. — Executive VP of Research & Development
Dr. Frantz Le Devedec has over 15 years of experience in academic and industrial research in biomaterials, drug delivery platforms and purification processes of natural compounds applied to cancer therapies, pain management and infectious disease. With a strong background in biochemistry, he received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Université de Montréal with honors and worked for Dr. Christine Allen’s Research Group (CARG) at the University of Toronto, leading several pharmaceutical projects for industrial partners and academic-oriented research.
Dr. Le Devedec also worked at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre as a research associate, where he developed new approaches for pancreatic cancer therapy. He is the first author of more than fifteen scientific publications, patents and presented in international conferences and universities. For the past three years, Dr. Le Devedec has been at the top of the R&D department of Avicanna Inc, where he has developed numerous advanced cannabinoid formulations (orals and topicals) now commercialized in North America, Latin America and finally put in place methodologies to purify cannabinoids from lab scale to industrial capacity in our cannabis cultivar in Colombia.
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