NAPANEE, ON, July 6, 2020 /CNW/ – VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) ("VIVO" or the "Company"), a leading provider of premium cannabis products and services and holder of licenses under the Cannabis Act through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Canna Farms Limited ("Canna Farms"), ABcann Medicinals Inc. ("ABcann") and Harvest Medicine Inc. ("Harvest Medicine"), is pleased to provide an update on its global medical business, which operates in Canada, Germany and Australia.
"One of our top strategic priorities is to focus on the global medical cannabis market, directly servicing tens of thousands of patients and investing in product development initiatives that prioritize high-quality novel products," said Barry Fishman, CEO of VIVO. "We’ve recently made significant progress on a number of key initiatives, which will help solidify our market presence as a company that is committed to delivering solutions for patients and healthcare professionals on an international scale."
VIVO believes that significant growth in medical cannabis utilization will be driven by several factors including:
1. Accelerating legalization of medicinal cannabis globally
2. Mounting real-world and clinical evidence of therapeutic benefits
3. Increasing clinician adoption of medical cannabis as a viable therapeutic option
4. Growing reimbursement by governments and third-party payors
5. Improving patient and healthcare practitioner awareness, education and access
6. Introducing new medical-grade, precise-dosed, stable formulations
7. Removing the sales tax on medical cannabis in Canada
The Company is pleased to announce several initiatives that advance the Company’s impact within the global medical cannabis market.
Shoppers Drug Mart Partnership
VIVO has entered into both a product supply agreement and a clinic services agreement with Medical Cannabis by Shoppers™. As previously announced, VIVO’s two licensed producers will offer a broad portfolio of Canna Farms™ and Beacon Medical™ branded medical cannabis products through the Medical Cannabis by Shoppers™ online sales platform, including its latest Cannabis 2.0 offerings such as chocolates and extracts making these products accessible to Medical Cannabis by Shoppers™ patients across Canada.
Under the terms of the clinic services agreement, VIVO’s subsidiary, Harvest Medicine, will provide cannabis education services to patients who are appropriate candidates for cannabinoid-based products available from Medical Cannabis by Shoppers™ and provide consulting services to its Cannabis Care team.
Launch of Beacon Medical Oils in Australia
VIVO’s subsidiary, Beacon Medical Australia, has entered into a supply agreement with MediPharm Labs Australia to purchase pharmaceutical quality (GMP certified) cannabis oils for the Australian market.
As previously announced, under the agreement MediPharm Labs Australia will supply its full range of GMP-certified, formulated CBD and THC cannabis oils to Beacon Medical Australia for further distribution under the Beacon Medical branding. The addition of cannabis oils to Beacon’s Australian portfolio is an important step towards capturing market share in Australia’s growing medical cannabis market.
Veterans House Partnership
VIVO has entered into a collaboration agreement with Veterans House ("Veterans House"), under which the Company will provide sponsorship and support to joint programs for Canadian Armed Forces veterans. Veterans House is a federally registered non-profit organization that provides veterans suffering from mental illness and operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, with access to counseling and peer support programs.
"Canna Farms is a long-standing supporter of veterans, providing access to leading medical cannabis products and programs," said Fabian Henry, Senior Director of Operations at Veterans House. "The team at VIVO has shown an ongoing commitment to Canadian veterans and we look forward to working more closely together to serve this community."
"We are proud to be associated with Veterans House," said Mr. Fishman. "Our veterans have dedicated their lives to defending the rights and freedoms we have in Canada. We are honoured to play an important role in enhancing the quality of life for our veterans."
Medical Product Line Expansion
VIVO is pleased to introduce softgel capsules, with several cannabinoid concentrations available, through its Canna Farms on-line medical marketplace in the coming weeks. Softgel capsules provide patients with a convenient format to ingest cannabis in a precisely dosed format.
The introduction of softgels follows the successful launch of VIVO’s Cannabis 2.0 product offerings (including chocolates and extracts) into the Canadian medical market, increasing choice for the Company’s more than 20,000 registered patients.
The Canna Farms store now carries six leading medical brands including GTEC, Aqualitis and Pure Sunfarms. "Our web-based medical store continues to be a key point of connection for Canadian patients to conveniently access medical cannabis products," said Daniel Laflamme, President of Canna Farms. "Having a consistent supply of medical products has been an industry-wide concern and we continue to enhance our manufacturing processes and relationships with other established high-quality LP partners, to supply our medical patients with a wide range of product options."
Product Development Progress
VIVO moved into the next stage of product innovation with partner Pharmascience Inc., a global pharmaceutical company based in Montreal, for the development of a line of specific medical cannabis formulations produced under pharmaceutical quality standards intended to maximize the benefit to patients.
"Healthcare professionals and patients are increasingly searching for precisely-controlled, high-quality, standardized dosage forms of medical cannabis. VIVO has invested in several product development projects with proven partners experienced in formulating complex medical products," stated Mr. Fishman.
EU-GMP Follow-up Audit Completed
A follow-up EU-GMP audit was recently completed at VIVO’s ABcann Medicinal facility in Napanee. This is an important step towards EU GMP-certification and is a requirement to export medical cannabis products from Canada for sale in Germany and other European countries.
Real-World Evidence Collaboration
The Company entered into a partnership with privately held Reformulary Group, an innovative healthcare company dedicated to helping Canadians make sense of medicine (prescription drugs and medical cannabis). VIVO has agreed to provide clinical support, through the Company’s Harvest Medicine clinics, to patients who access Reformulary Group’s Cannabis Standard™ platform. Cannabis Standard is an ecosystem of expert recommendations, patient-powered tools, and independent information to help Canadians and healthcare professionals make smarter, more informed decisions about choosing medical cannabis.
"Cannabis Standard™ applies the same formula that we’ve used so successfully on the prescription medication side. We gathered a panel of independent medical experts, conducted a comprehensive review all of the available evidence globally, and created user-friendly tools to help Canadians navigate the medical cannabis space," said Helen Stevenson, Reformulary Group founder and CEO. "At its core, Cannabis Standard™ is about helping patients benefit from and contribute to the growing base of medical cannabis research, and we look forward to working closely with the team at VIVO to advance patient outcomes."
VIVO has also engaged Strainprint Technologies™, a leader in cannabis data and analytics, to examine real-world evidence of its products, linking utilization and efficacy for several of the leading indications treated with medical cannabis from thousands of patients. This evidence is being used by healthcare professionals to assist in determining optimal treatment options and by patients to help navigate their medical cannabis journey. VIVO is the first Canadian LP to provide this valuable information on its products to key stakeholders.
Patient Support Under COVID-19
Health Canada recently announced that due to COVID-19, it is temporarily extending the expiry date of registrations by six months for patients who are having difficulty accessing their health care prescriber to obtain a new medical document.
Since Harvest Medicine temporarily moved its entire clinic operations to telemedicine in late Q1 2020, the feedback from patients and prescribing clinicians adapting to virtual visits has been overwhelmingly positive.
"Not only has there been no lapse in ongoing care for our patients during COVID-19, but our dedicated team was able to scale up to meet increased patient demand for visits on our HMED Connect mobile application platform which have more than tripled during the pandemic," stated Carole Chan, President of Harvest Medicine. "We understand the importance of in-person consultations for certain patient populations, and we will continue to offer this option when clinics re-open in the near future with enhanced protocols to keep patients and staff safe."
VIVO is confident that it will benefit from Health Canada’s recent announcement and Harvest Medicine’s ability to continue to provide high-quality patient services during COVID-19.
Product Identification Enhancement
VIVO, through its global Beacon Medical™ brand has simplified its consumer-facing product naming conventions and added Product Identification Numbers (PINs) to its core Canadian offering to better support doctors, pharmacists and patients in navigating medical cannabis. "Introducing PINs will enable Canadian insurers to more easily navigate our products," commented Matt Patterson, Vice President of Medical Strategy.
About VIVO Cannabis™
VIVO Cannabis™ is recognized for trusted, premium cannabis products and services. It holds production and sales licences from Health Canada and operates world-class indoor and seasonal airhouse cultivation facilities with proprietary plant-growing technology in Hope, British Columbia and Napanee, Ontario. VIVO has a collection of premium brands, each targeting different customer segments, including Canna Farms™, Beacon Medical™, Fireside™, Fireside-X™, Lumina™ and Canadian Bud Collection™. The Company is expanding its production capabilities and distribution network. Harvest Medicine™, VIVO’s patient-centric, scalable network of medical cannabis clinics, has serviced over 100,000 patient visits. VIVO is pursuing several partnership and product development opportunities and is focusing its international efforts on Germany and Australia. The Company has a healthy balance sheet and is well-positioned to accelerate its path to profitability. For more information visit: www.vivocannabis.com
Disclaimer for Forward-Looking Information
Certain statements in this news release are forward-looking statements, which are statements that are not purely historical, including statements regarding the beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions of VIVO and its management regarding the future. Forward-looking statements in this news release include statements regarding: that the Company’s activities to date are expected to help solidify its market presence in the medical cannabis space; the factors that VIVO believes will drive significant growth in medical cannabis utilization; the expected timing of launch of softgel capsules; that the products generated from the Company’s partnership with Pharmascience Inc. are intended to maximize therapeutic benefit to patients; and the expected re-opening of the Harvest Medicine clinics in the near future. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results, performance or developments to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including: that the medical cannabis market may not grow to the extent, within the time, or for the reasons expected by the Company; that the COVID-19 pandemic may last longer and have a more significant impact on the Company’s operations, the Canadian cannabis industry, or the global economy generally, than currently expected; that the Company may not be able to launch new products in the time expected or at all and that patients may not receive the expected benefits therefrom; that the Company may not be able to achieve competitive margins; that new products, if launched, may not be accepted by the market or may become subject to product liability claims; that the Company may not be able to obtain necessary licences; that demand for the Company’s products may not meet management’s expectations; that the timing of EU-GMP certification may be delayed, due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise; that the Company may be unable to retain its key talent; that the Company may not be able to execute on its strategic partnerships; that the Company may not obtain any other necessary regulatory approvals as required from time to time; that the Company may be unable to protect its intellectual property; and other factors beyond the Company’s control. No assurance can be given that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will occur or, if they do occur, what benefits the Company will obtain from them. Readers are urged to consider these factors, and the more extensive risk factors included in the Company’s management’s discussion and analysis for the three months ended March 31, 2020, which is available on SEDAR, carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements contained in this news release, and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. The forward-looking statements in this news release are made as of the date hereof and the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws.
SOURCE VIVO Cannabis Inc.