It pays to be healthy, depending on how you invest your money. The global wellness industry has already reached US$4 trillion annually, highlighting the massive demand for non-traditional health and wellness products. Psychedelics are emerging as a promising segment of this industry. Psilocybin, famous for its role in “magic mushrooms” is already projected to reach a portion of the US$10.75 billion psychedelic market by 2027. While plenty of hurdles remain to be overcome, psilocybin leads the psychedelic charge towards a new era of wellness.
Why psilocybin? Studies have already shown that the psychedelic compound and its mushrooms have both mental health and nutritional benefits. For example, one study found that psilocybin treatment for major depression is effective for up to a year. Another study indicated effectiveness in treating alcohol abuse. However, legal and regulatory hurdles remain even with solid science backing it. According to the Canadian government, one such hurdle is that mushrooms and their chemical isolates must live up to the standards of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Pioneers who leap over these hurdles position themselves to capitalize on the emerging market.Optimi Health (CSE:OPTI,OTC:OPTHF,FRA:8BN) aims to become the leading global supplier of GMP-grade psilocybin and functional mushrooms for health and wellness markets. The company is already positioning itself as a supplier of scalable natural mushroom formulations to provide transformative experiences for patients. In addition, the company is positioning itself to capitalize on the projected 6.41 percent market growth by 2026 for the psychedelic mushroom market.
The company recently unveiled its state-of-the-art, technologically advanced EU-GMP cultivation facilities dedicated to the growing of safe, high-quality psychedelic and functional mushrooms. The facility, already licensed by Health Canada for psilocybin manufacturing, can produce 2,000 kilograms per month. Optimi Health’s cultivation process has a six-week growth cycle while maintaining the standards and quality of EU-GMP guidelines. A request to amend its Controlled Substances Dealer’s Licence was granted by Health Canada in May, enabling the Company to further expand capacity to produce natural, EU-GMP psilocybin as well as introducing a provision to extract psilocin for use in clinical trials. Under the terms of the amendment, the Company is now permitted to possess a quota of up to 5,000 kilograms of dried psilocybin mushrooms – the equivalent of 10 kilograms of psilocybin – and 100 grams of psilocin.
Optimi Health has multiple revenue streams to target different needs of the psychedelic industry. Optimi Products, its line of nutraceuticals, is already generating revenue. Additional revenue streams include Optimi Farms and Optimi Labs. All three streams aim to serve different segments of the psilocybin market with quality-first products.
Optimi Farms will become the primary revenue stream as the company aims to dominate the natural, functional mushroom market with large-scale vertical and GMP-compliant farming operations. Meanwhile, Optimi Labs is developing advanced formulations and intellectual properties that include improved delivery formulations, optimized extraction processes, and improved protocols for improving patients’ beneficial outcomes.
In a recent interview, the company’s CEO Bill Ciprick explained, “The thing that sets us apart in the mushroom space is our commitment to quality. And that’s something you’re going to see through our actions. Quality is our focus, with everything starting from the research to our amazing products that we get into the hands of individuals and healthcare professionals. Other players are trying to be quick to market, but we have a long-term lens. We will set the standard; we’ll be GMP certified out of the gate. I think others will have a really hard time keeping up.”
Optimi Health is led by a management team with the right experience to achieve its ambitions goals. Bill Ciprick, CEO, brings 25 years of experience helping build companies with financial and management expertise. Jacob Safarik, CFO, brings 12 years of experience in project finance, business development, and accounting. Bryan Safarik, COO, has 15 years of experience developing operational efficiencies for companies across multiple industries. Justin Kirkland, CSO, is a chemist with experience in natural products and holds a master’s degree in biology. Additional directors and advisors round out the team to form an encouraging management group.
- Optimi Health aims to become a global leader in GMP-certified psilocybin and functional mushroom products to cater to the emerging psychedelic segment of the wellness industry.
- Three revenue streams are in the works to fully capitalize on the diverse needs of the growing market: Optimi Labs, Optimi Farms and Optimi Products. Optimi Products is already generating revenue, while Optimi Farms is slated to become the primary revenue driver.
- The company’s first GMP-certified manufacturing facility will open in May 2022 and can produce 2,000 kilograms of high-quality mushroom products per month. Health Canada has licensed the facility. The new facility will support all three revenue streams.
- An experienced management team leads Optimi Health with expertise in corporate finance, operational excellence, and various scientific disciplines.
Innovations in mushroom farming are at the core of the company’s operations. Optimi Health has two facilities capable of producing GMP-certified products. These facilities total 10,000 square feet and were built specifically for indoor mushroom cultivation. One facility focuses on growing the mushrooms themselves as efficiently as possible, while the other focuses on developmental needs such as extraction, testing, and shipping. Both facilities have Level 8 security to protect the company’s assets.
- Indoor Cultivation: Optimi Health has pioneered indoor-only farming operations to support all of the company’s product goals. Fruiting chambers were explicitly designed for cultivating mushrooms with biological efficiency and high-yield optimization at the forefront of the development process. The farms utilize compost, high humidity, and pure air exchange to produce bio-sustainable fungi.
- Automation that Scales: The system discussed above is automated and programmed to collect meaningful data at every growth stage regularly. The advanced automation allows the company to produce pharmaceutical-grade psilocybin at scale.
- Advanced Cultivation Systems: A fermentation process was developed to support mushroom cultivation that harnesses mycelia’s ability to digest the provided growth medium. This process produces many advantages depending on the goal, ranging from improved taste, texture, or levels of bioavailability.
The company cultivates multiple varieties of mushrooms that produce the desired attributes for the company’s line of products. Varieties include Lions Mane, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Chaga, and Cordyceps. Each variety is transformed into its line of products that cater to consumers’ varying needs.
- Positioned to Cater to the Growing Market: Optimi produces seven products that produce different effects, allowing the company to serve multiple submarkets under the functional mushroom market. Products target different attributes like immunity, longevity and mindfulness.
- Meet GMP requirements: The company’s line of functional mushroom nutraceuticals is of the utmost quality and satisfies GMP requirements, which allows the company to serve Canada and, ultimately, international markets.
- Already Generating Revenue: Optimi Health already has products on the market that generate revenue for the company. The existing product line is estimated to reach US$2 million in sales in 2023.
The company’s labs have several critical functions that support the rest of Optimi’s ambitions. Functions include optimizing the commercial cultivation process, improving strain quality, yield, product development and pharmaceutical development. However, cultivation and extraction are the primary focus of the company’s labs at present.
- Developing New Intellectual Property: The company has a highly-accelerated formulation development program that aims to uncover new opportunities for intellectual property.
- Partnerships that Provide Quality Talent: Strategic partnerships with professional researchers, scientific leaders, and academic institutions have given Optimi Labs a strong team of researchers.
- Unknown Opportunities with Psilocybin: Several high-profile studies have reignited the scientific community’s interest in psilocybin. Optimi Labs supports new scientific studies into the psychedelic compound that may lead to unknown breakthroughs and products.
William (Bill) J. Ciprick - Chief Executive Officer
Bill Ciprick has over 25 years of global experience across various industries in multifunctional organizations, ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to small and medium-sized businesses. He graduated from UBC with a bachelor degree in economics and has spent his career working in various cities across North America. Prior experience includes leading a specialty advisory practice for the Business Development Bank of Canada, running his own successful consulting firm and helping a high tech company go public and grow from $200 million to $800 million in under four years. Ciprick additionally spent 17 years at Procter & Gamble and has a love, and proven track record, for growing products and brands.
Jacob Safarik - Chief Financial Officer
Jacob Safarik brings over 12 years of experience in accounting, project finance, business development and quality assurance. Jacob graduated from McGill University with a bachelor of commerce degree and is a chartered professional accountant. Prior experience includes playing a lead advisory role in the divestiture and sale of a $6 billion business in San Francisco. Safarik also worked in Vienna, Austria, where he managed various audit and assurance engagements for key infrastructure and development initiatives funded by the European Union. He is also a co-founder of BC Green Pharmaceuticals and currently serves as their chief financial officer.
Bryan Safarik - Chief Operating Officer & Director
Bryan Safarik has over fifteen years of experience in senior management roles, as well as founder and president of various profitable private companies. His experience includes developing operational efficiencies at Ocean Fisheries before serving as director of marine operations prior to the sale to the Jim Pattison Group. After assisting with the successful sale of Ocean’s, Bryan co-founded, and currently serves as president for, BC Green Pharmaceuticals. Safarik received a bachelors of science degree from Wingate University.
Justin Kirkland - Chief Science Officer
Justin Kirkland is a chemist with experience in natural products, small molecules, peptide synthesis, analytical chemistry, and drug formulations for improved bioavailability. Kirkland has earned a bachelor’’s of science in agronomy and a master's of science in biology, and attended medical school in Belize at the Central American Health Sciences University. He was recently awarded a US patent for the improved synthesis of the ergoline BOL-148: useful in treating cluster headaches.
Dane Stevens - Chief Marketing Officer and Director
An entrepreneur with 12 years experience in international product sourcing, development, manufacturing, and quality control, Dane Stevens is the founder of multiple successful wholesale and retail DTC businesses, and is currently president of Cavalier Jewelers. After investing in several venture start-ups, Dane now concentrates his efforts on various philanthropic endeavors, and on the science-based benefits in the rapidly evolving world of fungi.
JJ Wilson - Chairman of the Board
JJ Wilson is the active CEO and co-founder of Ride Cycle Club and a partner at Very Polite Agency. Wilson’s previous experience includes leading the international expansion of Kit and Ace, in addition to developing the businesses brand, ecommerce, and retail. A recent graduate from Harvard Business School, he now focuses on strategic growth initiatives and development for his operating companies, in addition to independent strategic investments and philanthropy.
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