Aussie Invasion – Althea Acquires Peak Solutions and Cronos Holds IPO for Australian Subsidiary

CV Sciences expands its CBD Oil Brand, MGC Pharma hits a new patient milestone, Botanix secures a grant from the Australian Government, and more!

There was big news from Althea Group Holdings Limited (ASX:AGH) this week, after the company announced that it had acquired a Canadian-based contract extraction and manufacturing company known as Peak Processing Solutions.

The acquisition follows Althea's successful completion of a A$30 million Institutional capital raise, and will allow the company to target Canada's burgeoning infused cannabis product market.

In support of its early-mover strategy, Peak Processing Solutions has also applied for one of the industry's first large-scale (infused) cannabis processing licences, which is expected to be granted by early 2020.

"Peak's trajectory makes it well placed to launch products early on in this new segment of the Canadian adult-use cannabis market. Media reports suggest that Canada's cannabis industry is expected to double to A$5.4 billion by the end of 2020, up from A$2.3 billion in 2019, with sales of new cannabis-infused products accounting for approximately A$1.3 billion."Althea CEO, Josh Fegan

Althea CEO Josh Fegan discusses how the company is using technology to drive patient numbers growth

Meanwhile, the Cronos Group Inc (TSX: CRON) announced an AUD$20 million initial public offering of Cronos Australia Limited.

Under the offering, Cronos Australia is expected to issue 40 million new shares at an offering price of AUD$0.50 per share, ahead of its planned listing on the Australian Securities Exchange during November 2019.

Established in February 2018, Cronos Australia is a 50/50 joint venture between Cronos Group and NewSouthern Capital Pty Ltd. The launch marks a significant milestone in Cronos Group's commitment to advancing cannabis research and producing and distributing products and brands at a global scale.

We are excited by this offering, which enables Cronos Group to unlock value for our stakeholders while also continuing to participate in Cronos Australia's growth as they work to become the market leader for medicinal cannabis in the Asia-Pacific region. Cronos Group's Chairman, President and CEO, Mike Gorenstein

CV Sciences, Inc (OTCQB:CVSI) announced a further expansion of its industry-dominating PlusCBD™ Oil brand, bringing it to a total of 515 The Vitamin Shoppe locations in 36 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

CV Sciences' expansion increases distribution and availability of a broad assortment of the Company's best-selling PlusCBD™ Oil products. Distribution across The Vitamin Shoppe's national footprint includes both topical products, such as PlusCBD™ Oil Extra Strength Balm and recently launched PlusCBD™ Oil Roll-On, as well as PlusCBD™ Oil full spectrum hemp extracts including Gold Formula Softgels, Gold Formula Drops, and Total Plant Complex Sprays and Capsules.

According to the CEO of CV Sciences, Joseph Dowling, the company is looking forward to the "continued expansion with The Vitamin Shoppe as their customers seek high quality, efficacious CBD hemp extract products that promote a healthy lifestyle".

CV Sciences CEO Joseph Dowling discusses CBD regulation in the US market

Just a few short weeks after MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) announced the milestone of 400 patient prescriptions, the company is already updating that number to 600.

This 600 patient milestone represents a 50% increase in prescription numbers in just two weeks since the 30th of September this year, amounting to an average of 19 prescriptions per day in October. MGC's UK distribution partners are Grow Biotech PLC and IPS Specials, which provide the company access to over 5,500 pharmacies across the UK.

In Australia, MGC also works with Health House International, the first medical cannabis importer into Australia, who currently wholesales to pharmacists and researchers around the country, and Cannvalate, Australia's largest network of cannabis prescribers and dispensaries, who offer MGC Pharma access to over 1000 doctors and 600 pharmacies Australia-wide. Alongside these distribution partnerships, MGC also works with Tetra Health and Cannabis Access Clinics, who both help to expedite the prescription process for Australians, by educating patients and prescribers about medicinal cannabis products.

"The increased momentum of new prescriptions in Australia and the UK is a testament to the effectiveness of our phytocannabinoid medicines and growing recognition from, and use by, the medical community." Co-founder and Managing Director of MGC Pharma, Roby Zomer

Cresco Labs (CSE:CL) received Early Approval Adult-Use Dispensing Organization Licenses for all five of its existing Illinois medical cannabis dispensaries.

Cresco also received approval for adult-use cultivation on September 30th, making it the only company approved for both adult-use cultivation and adult-use dispensary operations in the state.

Cresco Labs currently has five medical dispensaries in the state of Illinois, including: Phoenix Botanical; MedMar Lakeview; MedMar Rockford; PDI Medical; and FloraMedex. As an existing medical cannabis dispensary operator, the company will receive an additional adult-use license for each of its current medical dispensaries, which will bring its total adult-use footprint to 10 total retail dispensary locations.

"Illinois is Cresco's home state and with the transition to a legal adult-use market in January of 2020, the state is expected to produce between $2 – 4 billion in sales at maturity (BDS Analytics), making this one of the single largest opportunities in the U.S. cannabis space today." Cresco Labs CEO and Co-founder, Charlie Bachtell

Cresco Labs CEO Charlie Bachtell discusses the medicinal cannabis industry.

Indiva Limited (TSXV:NDVA) announced that it has entered into definitive documentation with an institutional lender in respect of a $7,500,000 secured bridge loan facility—as well as a $6,500,000 secured demand loan facility—for aggregate debt financing in an amount up to $11 million.

The proceeds under the Facility are expected to be used for repayment of an outstanding convertible debenture and related interest, Indiva's facility expansion, capital purchases of extraction and encapsulation equipment, as well as bulk biomass purchases and general working capital.

As laws permit, Indiva will deliver its award-winning portfolio of products to Canadian consumers including Bhang™ Chocolate. Indiva will also make Ruby® Cannabis Sugar, Sapphire™ Cannabis Salt, and Ruby® Gems available in early 2020.

"As we look ahead towards Cannabis 2.0, we are pleased to secure the necessary capital to execute on growth objectives. This financing will support the launch of our refinement, production and manufacturing capabilities and position the Company well as it prepares to bring its portfolio of premium edible products to market." Indiva's President and Chief Executive Officer, Niel Marotta

Valens GroWorks Corp (TSXV: VGW) reported financial results for the third fiscal quarter of 2019.

During this time the company saw revenue increase to $16.5 million, while gross profit increased to $12.8 million. Valens recorded an adjusted EBITDA of $9.8 million in the third quarter—compared to $2.0 million during the second quarter of 2019—along with a net income of $5.9 million.

During Q3 2019 the company also entered into agreements with Shoppers Drug Mart—to supply cannabis oil products for their online medicinal cannabis site—and Iconic Brewing, which will a look them the manufacture 2.5 million cannabis beverages over the term of the 5-year deal.

"We are extremely pleased with the roll-out of our business plan and the continued scale up in the Company's extraction operations which have allowed us to continue our aggressive quarter over quarter growth in volumes, revenue, adjusted EBITDA and net income." CEO of Valens GroWorks, Tyler Robson.

Valens GrowWorks President Jeffery Fallows discusses the company's deals with Iconic Brewing and Shopper Drug Mart

Botanix Pharma (ASX:BOT) received a grant from the federal government which will help the company to further its research into cannabidiol.

Botanix is currently researching how to better absorb the compound, through its medicinal chemistry program that the company began in 2018. From its research, Botanix has developed a litany of novel cannabidiol analogs that show that cannabidiol can be enhanced without sacrificing its efficacy.

The grant, valued at A$50,000 will help Botanix pursue this research and further develop a portfolio of novel, effective cannabidiol analogs for clinical testing.

"We are very pleased that this new program has been supported by AusIndustry through the Innovation Connections Grant program and we look forward to accelerating the development and testing of these novel cannabidiol analogs over the coming months." Executive Director of Botanix Pharma, Dr Michael Thurn

Next Green Wave Holdings Inc (CSE: NGW) revealed that it is processing its third cannabis harvest that will be sold for consumption as premium whole flower product, through its partner brands at selected dispensaries throughout California.

The cannabis grown by NGW has consistently passed strict category three testing (CAT3) and meets all premium standards for the California market.

Next Green Wave is continuing to build out its distribution strategy to deliver value to top tier dispensaries through its growing brands and products.  Similar to a pharmaceutical distribution model, this will allow the company to bypass third party distributors, improve operational efficiency and deliver direct to the retailer.

"We are proud to announce that Columbia Care dispensaries have now been added to our growing network. In less than 6 months since opening our flagship facility, we have completed three harvests of premium quality, high THC cannabis, as well as fully scaled the entire space." Next Green Wave CEO, Mike Jennings

Next Green Waves Executive Leigh Hughes discusses the company's licensing acquisition in Southern California

And finally, Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) closed the previously announced acquisition of all outstanding shares in the global cannabinoid based research company Beckley Canopy Therapeutics, including the joint commercial venture Spectrum Biomedical UK.

These teams will now be integrated into the broader Spectrum Therapeutics organization, to increase the breadth of the clinical research being pursued under the Spectrum banner and to combine continental European and United Kingdom commercial teams.

As a part of the acquisition, Canopy Growth's European management structure will evolve. Paul Steckler and Steven Wooding will assume the roles of Co-Managing Directors in charge of all European operations.

"Spectrum Biomedical has completed all necessary approvals to import cannabis into the UK market and is proud to facilitate patient access to safe cannabinoid-based medicines there. Consolidating our UK-based operations will allow Canopy to simultaneously improve its research and commercial capabilities across the continent." Canopy Growth CEO, Mark Zekulin.

Canopy Growth CEO Mark Zekulin explains the company's plan to develop a range of cannabis-infused sports beverages.

Watch this space for future weekly updates.

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Hugo Gray
Hugo Gray

Hugo Gray is a Melbourne-based journalist with a body of work that covers a diverse range of topics, including immigration law, sex technology, and now the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

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