A recent article in New Cannabis Ventures featured an interview with Mettrum Health Corp. (TSXV:MT) CEO, Michael Haines.
Haines has a background in marketing and communications, focused on video games and video game distribution. He started Mettrum with six founders that brought different skills to the organization. The most recent hire is George Scorsis, who joined as President in September and was formerly the President of Red Bull Canada. He is charged with the transition from a controlled substance strategy to a packaged goods strategy. Peter Kampian, the CFO, was formerly CFO of Algonquin Power (TSX:AQN). Trevor Fencott, Chief Legal Officer, runs regulatory affairs and has worked with Haines previously. Grant Koehler, EVP Sales & Marketing, previously worked at Valeant (NYSE:VRX) and oversaw sales of Cesamet, a synthetic THC pharmaceutical. Luke Escott is the Master Grower and has been growing cannabis in Canada since 2001. He discussed the qualifications of the directors as well.
Mettrum has three licensed facilities, including two in Bowmanville and one in Creemore. The original Bowmanville facility was small, with the Creemore facility about six times larger. The new Bowmanville facility is twice as big as Creemore. The fully built out capacity would be 12mm grams per year, but the company has enough land to be able to sell 25-30mm grams with additional buildings. Today, the company is licensed for 3.5mm grams, which could supply 13,000 patients and up to $30mm in revenue, and is built for production of up to 6mm grams.
Haines discussed its electronic medical record (EMR) system that allows doctors to monitor patient consumption practices. Doctors can impose limits on potency and can monitor in real-time. The company just announced an observational study on how cannabis is being prescribed as well as its effectiveness in treating symptoms.
Mettrum has been enjoying a premium price relative to its peers, something that Haines believes, perhaps counter-intuitively, is due to patients being responsible financially for their own purchases. He believes that consistency, availability and variety lead to customer retention. The average spending per gram has increased to over $8 per gram over the past year despite no price hikes, as patients are opting for the more premium products. $9.60 per gram is the highest-priced product.
Mettrum has seen rapid uptake initially with its cannabis oils. The company, unlike peers, is using flower and not trim. It offers 3 different oils at this time (Red, Blue and Yellow). Over time, the company will offer products from trim under a different brand. The cannabinoid output from flower is greater than that from trim, according to Haines, so he is using two Waters supercritical CO2 machines to create oil as rapidly as possible.