If you’re looking to invest in stocks, the TSX Venture 50 is always a good place to start.
With that in mind, every year the TSXV releases a list of companies it considers its top 50. Companies are chosen based on three equally weighted criteria: market cap growth, share price appreciation and trading volume.
That said, biotech and pharmaceutical companies weren’t as prominent on this year’s list. Instead, here the Investing News Network highlights the impact medical cannabis companies had in entering this space.
Here’s a closer look at those companies.

Aphria (TSXV:APH)

Aphria is a major player in the medical marijuana sector throughout Canada. Their products include various types of cannabis, greenhouse grown, according to Health Canada’s guidelines.
In late April 2017, the company raised $100 million in funds to expand their production–$75 million of which is a bought deal financing, while the remainder is a debt financing over a five-year loan. According to the press release, 50 percent of the proceeds are expected to go towards the unfunded portion of Part IV Expansion, while the balance will go towards the working capital needed to support Aphria once the Part IV expansion is done.

Emerald Health Therapeutics (TSXV:EMH)

Licensed under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), Emerald Health Therapeutics cultivates medical marijuana in addition to selling a variety of dried cannabis and oils. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Emerald Health Botanicals is a licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada.
In mid-April 2017, the company expanded a previously announced bought deal financing from Eight Capital to $24.4 million.

OrganiGram (TSXV:OGI)

OrganiGram came onto the scene in 2013 as an organic medical cannabis  company. Now, it is in the middle of a number of controversies. Following a recall for products sold in 2016, the company is preparing to defend itself in a lawsuit over the discovery of pesticides in their crops.
That said, in early April 2017, the company announced it had entered into a letter of intent to acquire Trauma Healing Centers.  According to the press release, the two companies have worked together over the last two years in some capacity, and look forward to growing in the fast-paced Canadian cannabis sector.

Ceapro (TSXV:CZO)

Ceapro is a biotechnology company that provides “green” ingredients to manufacturers of personal care products, nutraceuticals, and developers of therapeutics. The company is developing proprietary extraction technology and its applications to the production of extracts from oats and other renewable plant resources.
In early April, the company released its 2016 financial results, highlighting total sales of $13,674,000, compared to $10,667,000 in 2015, representing a 28.2 percent increase over the year.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience for real-time news updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

**This article is updated each year. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information.**

The release of the TSX Venture Exchange’s TSX Venture 50 list is always exciting. Put out annually, it ranks the exchange’s strongest performers across five sectors: cleantech and life science, diversified industries, mining, oil and gas and technology
Companies are chosen based on three equally weighted criteria: market cap growth, share price appreciation and trading volume. On average, the companies on this year’s list delivered a return of 72 percent in 2015.
For investors interested in the life science space, the TSX Venture 50 list may be a good place to start. This year’s list cleantech and life science category includes five life science companies, three medical marijuana companies and two cleantech companies. Here’s a brief look at the five life science companies that made the list, and an overview of how they performed in 2015.

1. VANC Pharmaceuticals (TSXV:NPH)

VANC Pharmaceuticals has a mandate that includes providing Canadians with affordable generic pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter healthcare products. Currently, the company has a several over-the-counter products, including Ferroheme, a bioidentical hemoglobin iron protein complex that helps with iron deficiency and anemia, and Pedia-safe, a polyvitamin drop for infants and children.

Last year, VANC’s trading volume was 241,384,075. Meanwhile, its share price rose 119 percent during 2015, while its market cap grew 191 percent.

2. Tribute Pharmaceuticals Canada

In December 2015, Tribute Pharmaceuticals Canada and POZEN announced plans to merge and form Aralez Pharmaceuticals (TSX:ARZ,NASDAQ:ARLZ). The merger was completed at the beginning of February, and Aralez began trading later that month. The combined company is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on cardiovascular issues, pain and other specialty areas.
Though Tribute is no longer trading, it nevertheless made this year’s TSX Venture 50 list, recording a 176-percent change in market cap in 2015. The company also saw its share price increase by 129 percent and had a 2015 trading volume of 140,738,060.

3. Medicure (TSXV:MPH)

Also a specialty pharmaceutical company, Medicure is focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics for the US hospital market. In particular, the company has honed in on acute cardiovascular care, which it serves with AGGRASTAT. AGGRASTAT has been shown to reduce the rate of thrombotic cardiovascular events in patients with non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome.
In 2015, Medicure saw its market cap increase by 155 percent. Meanwhile, its trading volume was on the lower side, at 8,038,156, and its share price was up 116 percent for the year.

4. bioMmune Technologies (TSXV:IMU)

bioMmune Technologies is engaged in harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer and autoimmune diseases. The company uses proprietary screening systems to identify novel compounds that are able to restore immune recognition and kill cancer cells. It also exploits the regulation of calcium channel activity, an important factor in controlling cells involved in the immune system. Finally, it is actively finding molecules that regulate CD74, a protein involved in the immune system’s ability to fight antigens.
Last year, bioMmune’s share price increased by 120 percent, while its share price rose 60 percent. Its trading volume came in at 8,444,124.

5.  Sernova (TSXV:SVA)

Clinical-stage Sernova is working on developing products for the treatment of chronic disease; it uses therapeutic cells transplanted into an implanted medical device in order to replace missing hormones or proteins. The company’s Cell Pouch System offers a versatile treatment for a number of chronic diseases. The company is currently conducing a Phase I/II clinical study in subjects with diabetes.
In 2015, Sernova’s trading volume was 36,704,930. The company’s market cap was up 118 percent, while its share price rose 100 percent.
Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 
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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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