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TDR’s Top 7 Cannabis Developments For The Week Of October 9

Welcome to TDR’s review of the Top 7 Cannabis Developments for the week of October 9. Aside from presenting a synopsis of news events, interviews and…

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Welcome to TDR’s review of the Top 7 Cannabis Developments for the week of October 9. Aside from presenting a synopsis of news events, interviews and closing market prices for publicly-listed companies.

7. Trulieve Announces Filing of Amended Federal Tax Returns Claiming $143 Million Refund

Trulieve Cannabis announced the filing of amended federal tax returns with refund claims for several of the company’s business entities for the years 2019, 2020, and 2021. In total, the company is claiming a refund of $143 million from taxes paid which the company believes it does not owe, although there is no guarantee of receipt.

Trulieve believes its determination is supported by legal interpretations that challenge the company’s tax liability under Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code.

6. The Cannabist Company Pays Down $25 Million of Debt

The Cannabist Company Holdings has delivered a notice of partial redemption to the holders of the company’s outstanding 13% senior secured notes due May 14, 2024. The Notice provides that the company will, on October 23, 2023, redeem US$25 million of the total US$38.2 million principal amount of the Notes currently outstanding.

On the Redemption Date, Holders of Notes will have a portion of their 13% Notes, in denominations of $1,000, redeemed effective as of the Redemption Date on a pro rata basis in accordance with the terms of the trust indenture between the company and Odyssey Trust Company dated May 14, 2020, as amended and supplemented.

5. Marijuana Consumers Who Caught COVID Had ‘Better Outcomes And Mortality’ Than Nonusers, Study Finds

Cannabis consumers who caught COVID-19 had significantly lower rates of intubation, respiratory failure and death than people who do not use marijuana, according a new study based on hospital data that was presented this week at the annual conference of The American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) in Honolulu.

Authors analyzed records from 322,214 patients from the National Inpatient Sample, a government database that tracks hospital utilization and outcomes. Of those patients, 2,603—less than 1 percent—said they consumed cannabis.

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Chart Of The Week—Select MSOs Net Cash Flows After Interest Expense, CAPEX, Taxes And Debt Maturities

Interview Of The Week: Jason Wild Speaks On The Eve Of TerrAscend’s Investor Day

TerrAscend (TSX: TSND) Chairman Jason Wild is here to share the latest developments in the industry, the recent news surrounding the house speaker in Washington, the upcoming ballot news in Florida and more.

Georgia To Become First State Selling Medical Marijuana In Pharmacies

Widely Held MSOs & LP Weekly Performance

CompanySymbolPrevious Week CloseEnd Of Week Close% Change On Week
AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETFMSOS7.087.04-0.56
Aurora CannabisACB0.56720.5039-11.16
Ayr WellnessAYRWF1.821.70-6.59
Canopy GrowthCGC0.70480.70-0.68
Cresco LabsCRLBF1.661.670.60
Curaleaf HoldingsCURLF4.224.06-3.79
Green Thumb IndustriesGTBIF10.129.75-3.65
High Tide Inc.HITI1.651.54-6.66
Marimed Inc.MRMD0.39040.382-2.15
TerrAscend Corp.TSNDF1.841.903.26
Tilray BrandsTLRY2.062.01-2.42
Trulieve CannabisTCNNF5.155.04-2.13
Verano HoldingsVRNOF4.084.315.63

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4. States Made More Than $5.7 Billion In Marijuana Tax Revenue Over 18-Month Period, New Federal Census Bureau Report Shows

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its first report on state-level marijuana tax revenue data following what the agency calls “a complete canvass of all state agencies” going back to July 2021. In the 18-month period between then and the end of 2022, the data show, states collected more than $5.7 billion from licensed cannabis sales.

The launch of the report, which the agency plans to update on a quarterly basis going forward, signals that at least some parts of the federal government are now beginning to treat the cannabis industry as a legitimate sector of the economy. The Census Bureau first announced in January 2021 that it would begin collecting marijuana tax figures for its quarterly summary of state and local government tax revenue. It also said it wants states to submit cannabis revenue data as part of annual reports as well.

In the news…

4Front Ventures has agreed to issue 1,283,425 subordinate voting share purchase warrants pursuant to an amendment to a previously entered promissory note purchase agreement. Pursuant to the Agreement, the lender has agreed to extend the maturity date of its loan, which has a principal amount of US$2,000,000, with a payment of an extension fee of C$65,000, which is payable in Warrants.

Aleafia Health announced that Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. has been selected as the successful bidder pursuant to the court-approved sale and investment solicitation process in connection with the previously announced proceedings of Aleafia and certain of its subsidiaries under the companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

BioHarvest Sciences announced that VINIA, its flagship nutraceutical product derived from red grape cells, has received its Canadian product license from Health Canada’s Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate.

California Governor vetoes cannabis cafe and marijuana labeling bills…

Canopy Growth has received EU GMP certification from RP Tuebingen, Regional Health Inspectorate of Baden-Wuerttemberg for the company’s cannabis cultivation facility in Kincardine, Ontario.

Cardiol Therapeutics announced positive study results from one of its international collaborating research centers demonstrating that subcutaneously administered cannabidiol, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Cardiol’s novel CRD-38 subcutaneous formulation prevented increases in key cardiac inflammatory and remodelling markers in a model of heart failure.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings announced the appointment of Angela McElwee to its Board of Directors.

CLS Holdings USA announced its financial results for the fiscal quarter ended August 31, 2023.

Colorado cannabis sales surpassed the $15 billion mark in August – a milestone since legal adult-use sales launched in the state in 2014.

Connecticut cannabis sales hit $25.2M in September 2023…

Cresco Labs announced the launch of its Good News brand in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Curaleaf Holdings will report its financial and operating results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2023 after market close on November 9, 2023.

Curaleaf Holdings has filed its application to list the Company’s subordinate voting shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Eurofins CDMO Alphora Inc. announced that it has received its Health Canada Cannabis Drug License issued within the Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations for its Oakville, Ontario operations in September 2023. 

Goodness Growth Holdings and Grown Rogue International, Inc. have completed the issuance of warrants to purchase listed shares as previously announced on May 25, 2023.

Heritage Cannabis Holdings announced the procurement of an EU GMP certified extraction machine to be added to the existing fleet of extractors which will double the company’s hydrocarbon processing capacity.

iAnthus Capital Holdings announces that Robert Galvin will transition out of his role as Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Company, effective immediately. 

IM Cannabis, a medical cannabis company with operations in Israel and Germany, releases message from the CEO about the Israel-Hamas War and announces the company, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, IMC Holdings Ltd. and Rosen High Way Ltd., has secured C$1,390,000 in short-term debt.

IM Cannabis announced that Uri Birenberg will join the company’s leadership team as Chief Financial Officer effective October 10, 2023. 

Lead GOP Senate cosponsor of a bipartisan marijuana banking bill says a planned floor vote is on pause until he can ensure the legislation will later pass the Republican-controlled House, according to a cannabis financing executive who spoke with the senator this week.

Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act: What We Heard Report

Letter to Attorney General Garland and DEA Administrator Milgram urging halt to rescheduling process.

MariMed, Inc announced “Small Batch Exclusives,” a unique, limited-time program that gives customers the opportunity to purchase legendary flower strains.

MariMed Inc. retail footprint has once again expanded, as the company officially unveiled an adult-use Thrive dispensary in Casey, Illinois. This marks the fifth dispensary in operation within the state of Illinois and the 12th dispensary in MariMed’s expanding portfolio across five states.

Organigram Holdings has obtained a receipt for a final short form base shelf prospectus filed with the securities commissions in each of the provinces and territories of Canada. A corresponding shelf registration statement on Form F-10 has been filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC File No. 333-274686) but is not yet effective.

RISE Dispensaries owned by Green Thumb Industries Inc. announced that RISE Dispensary Brandon, the Company’s 9th retail location in Florida, will open on October 14th.

SAFE Banking now with 84 co-sponsors…

SunStream Bancorp announced a receivership court order granting the sale of certain assets of Greenpeak Industries Inc. and certain affiliated entities d.b.a. Skymint to Skymint Acquisition Co., a newly formed designee entity of Tropics LP.  Tropics is a limited partnership fully owned by an affiliate of Sunstream, a joint venture sponsored by SNDL Inc.

Texas activists say they have secured enough signatures to put a local marijuana decriminalization initiative on the ballot in the city of Lubbock if lawmakers there do not enact the reform legislatively.

The Cannabist Company Holdings will report its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2023 before U.S. financial markets open on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. 

The Cannabist Company to report third quarter 2023 results on November 14, 2023 before U.S. financial markets open.

Trulieve Cannabis announced the relocation of a medical cannabis dispensary in Melbourne, Florida.

Trulieve Cannabis has added $500,000 to a ballot initiative aimed at legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, bringing its total contributions to $39.55 million, according to a newly filed finance report.

Verano Holdings announced the opening of Zen Leaf Newington, the company’s second social equity joint venture location in Connecticut and fourth cannabis dispensary statewide, on October 13, following a ceremonial ribbon cutting at 9 a.m. local time.

Vext Science has completed the previously announced non-brokered private placement of $11.5 million through the issuance of 67,647,058 common shares at a price of $0.17 per Common Share, including the full exercise of a $1.5 million over-allotment option.

3. TerrAscend Corp. Raises Full Year 2023 Guidance Prior To Investor Day Presentations At The TSX

Tier-1 cannabis multistate operator TerrAscend Corp. has made a notable splash in advance of Investor Day presentations at the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company has elevated forward-looking forecasts for net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA from ongoing operations for the entirety of 2023, signaling that business operations are exceeding previously-stated expectations.

For its full fiscal 2023, TerrAscend now expects net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA to register a minimum of $317 million and $63 million, respectively, versus previous a previous forecast of $305 million and $58 million. This represents year-over-year growth of 28% in net revenue and 62% in Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations—both well above Tier-1 industry averages.

Furthermore, TerrAscend anticipates that its gross margin will surpass the 50% mark, and generate positive free cash flow from ongoing operations during the latter half of the year.

2. Cannabis Adversary Steve Scalise Drops Out Of Speaker Race

The House GOP’s pick for speaker, Steve Scalise, announced Thursday he will no longer seek the gavel as he confronted a likely insurmountable vote shortage. While Scalise had won a majority of votes in an internal GOP ballot a day earlier, he faced an ever-growing list of Republicans who vowed to support only his opponent, Rep. Jim Jordan, on the floor. The Ohio Republican is now expected to make another run for the position.

Scalise announced his decision on Thursday evening, following a conference meeting in which it became clear that he had no path to winning the 217 votes needed to ascend to the speakership.

1. Jim Jordan Wins Nomination In GOP’s Chaotic House Speaker Battle

House Republicans voted Friday to nominate conservative firebrand Jim Jordan for speaker of the House — the latest twist in a chaotic battle for speakership. Jordan, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, received 124 votes — still more than 90 votes shy of the 217 he will need to grab the gavel in a vote on the House floor, according to members and aides who were the room. That floor vote has not yet been scheduled.

Jordan had an opponent in the conference vote for speaker: Rep. Austin Scott, who filed to run for the top spot shortly before the vote went down. Scott received 81 votes in the candidate forum.

Jordan had earlier backed out of the speaker race, saying he would cast a vote for Rep. Steve Scalise after the majority leader earned the nomination is a similar closed-door session Wednesday. Scalise backed out Thursday night after he failed to secure the votes needed to become speaker.

The post TDR’s Top 7 Cannabis Developments For The Week Of October 9 appeared first on The Dales Report.

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Four burning questions about the future of the $16.5B Novo-Catalent deal

To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.
Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand…

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To build or to buy? That’s a classic question for pharma boardrooms, and Novo Nordisk is going with both.

Beyond spending billions of dollars to expand its own production capacity for its weight loss drugs, the Danish drugmaker said Monday it will pay $11 billion to acquire three manufacturing plants from Catalent. It’s part of a broader $16.5 billion deal with Novo Holdings, the investment arm of the pharma’s parent group, which agreed to acquire the contract manufacturer and take it private.

It’s a big deal for all parties, with potential ripple effects across the biotech ecosystem. Here’s a look at some of the most pressing questions to watch after Monday’s announcement.

Why did Novo do this?

Novo Holdings isn’t the most obvious buyer for Catalent, particularly after last year’s on-and-off M&A interest from the serial acquirer Danaher. But the deal could benefit both Novo Holdings and Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk’s biggest challenge has been simply making enough of the weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes therapy Ozempic. On last week’s earnings call, Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said the company isn’t constrained by capital in its efforts to boost manufacturing. Rather, the main challenge is the limited amount of capabilities out there, he said.

“Most pharmaceutical companies in the world would be shopping among the same manufacturers,” he said. “There’s not an unlimited amount of machinery and people to build it.”

While Novo was already one of Catalent’s major customers, the manufacturer has been hamstrung by its own balance sheet. With roughly $5 billion in debt on its books, it’s had to juggle paying down debt with sufficiently investing in its facilities. That’s been particularly challenging in keeping pace with soaring demand for GLP-1 drugs.

Novo, on the other hand, has the balance sheet to funnel as much money as needed into the plants in Italy, Belgium, and Indiana. It’s also struggled to make enough of its popular GLP-1 drugs to meet their soaring demand, with documented shortages of both Ozempic and Wegovy.

The impact won’t be immediate. The parties expect the deal to close near the end of 2024. Novo Nordisk said it expects the three new sites to “gradually increase Novo Nordisk’s filling capacity from 2026 and onwards.”

As for the rest of Catalent — nearly 50 other sites employing thousands of workers — Novo Holdings will take control. The group previously acquired Altasciences in 2021 and Ritedose in 2022, so the Catalent deal builds on a core investing interest in biopharma services, Novo Holdings CEO Kasim Kutay told Endpoints News.

Kasim Kutay

When asked about possible site closures or layoffs, Kutay said the team hasn’t thought about that.

“That’s not our track record. Our track record is to invest in quality businesses and help them grow,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do with any asset you own, but we haven’t bought this company to do some of the stuff you’re talking about.”

What does it mean for Catalent’s customers? 

Until the deal closes, Catalent will operate as a standalone business. After it closes, Novo Nordisk said it will honor its customer obligations at the three sites, a spokesperson said. But they didn’t answer a question about what happens when those contracts expire.

The wrinkle is the long-term future of the three plants that Novo Nordisk is paying for. Those sites don’t exclusively pump out Wegovy, but that could be the logical long-term aim for the Danish drugmaker.

The ideal scenario is that pricing and timelines remain the same for customers, said Nicole Paulk, CEO of the gene therapy startup Siren Biotechnology.

Nicole Paulk

“The name of the group that you’re going to send your check to is now going to be Novo Holdings instead of Catalent, but otherwise everything remains the same,” Paulk told Endpoints. “That’s the best-case scenario.”

In a worst case, Paulk said she feared the new owners could wind up closing sites or laying off Catalent groups. That could create some uncertainty for customers looking for a long-term manufacturing partner.

Are shareholders and regulators happy? 

The pandemic was a wild ride for Catalent’s stock, with shares surging from about $40 to $140 and then crashing back to earth. The $63.50 share price for the takeover is a happy ending depending on the investor.

On that point, the investing giant Elliott Investment Management is satisfied. Marc Steinberg, a partner at Elliott, called the agreement “an outstanding outcome” that “clearly maximizes value for Catalent stockholders” in a statement.

Elliott helped kick off a strategic review last August that culminated in the sale agreement. Compared to Catalent’s stock price before that review started, the deal pays a nearly 40% premium.

Alessandro Maselli

But this is hardly a victory lap for CEO Alessandro Maselli, who took over in July 2022 when Catalent’s stock price was north of $100. Novo’s takeover is a tacit acknowledgment that Maselli could never fully right the ship, as operational problems plagued the company throughout 2023 while it was limited by its debt.

Additional regulatory filings in the next few weeks could give insight into just how competitive the sale process was. William Blair analysts said they don’t expect a competing bidder “given the organic investments already being pursued at other leading CDMOs and the breadth and scale of Catalent’s operations.”

The Blair analysts also noted the companies likely “expect to spend some time educating relevant government agencies” about the deal, given the lengthy closing timeline. Given Novo Nordisk’s ascent — it’s now one of Europe’s most valuable companies — paired with the limited number of large contract manufacturers, antitrust regulators could be interested in taking a close look.

Are Catalent’s problems finally a thing of the past?

Catalent ran into a mix of financial and operational problems over the past year that played no small part in attracting the interest of an activist like Elliott.

Now with a deal in place, how quickly can Novo rectify those problems? Some of the challenges were driven by the demands of being a publicly traded company, like failing to meet investors’ revenue expectations or even filing earnings reports on time.

But Catalent also struggled with its business at times, with a range of manufacturing delays, inspection reports and occasionally writing down acquisitions that didn’t pan out. Novo’s deep pockets will go a long way to a turnaround, but only the future will tell if all these issues are fixed.

Kutay said his team is excited by the opportunity and was satisfied with the due diligence it did on the company.

“We believe we’re buying a strong company with a good management team and good prospects,” Kutay said. “If that wasn’t the case, I don’t think we’d be here.”

Amber Tong and Reynald Castañeda contributed reporting.

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Petrina Kamya, Ph.D., Head of AI Platforms at Insilico Medicine, presents at BIO CEO & Investor Conference

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb….

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Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

Credit: Insilico Medicine

Petrina Kamya, PhD, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada, will present at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference happening Feb. 26-27 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City. Dr. Kamya will speak as part of the panel “AI within Biopharma: Separating Value from Hype,” on Feb. 27, 1pm ET along with Michael Nally, CEO of Generate: Biomedicines and Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, CBO of BigHat Biosciences.

The session will look at how the latest artificial intelligence (AI) tools – including generative AI and large language models – are currently being used to advance the discovery and design of new drugs, and which technologies are still in development. 

The BIO CEO & Investor Conference brings together over 1,000 attendees and more than 700 companies across industry and institutional investment to discuss the future investment landscape of biotechnology. Sessions focus on topics such as therapeutic advancements, market outlook, and policy priorities.

Insilico Medicine is a leading, clinical stage AI-driven drug discovery company that has raised over $400m in investments since it was founded in 2014. Dr. Kamya leads the development of the Company’s end-to-end generative AI platform, Pharma.AI from Insilico’s AI R&D Center in Montreal. Using modern machine learning techniques in the context of chemistry and biology, the platform has driven the discovery and design of 30+ new therapies, with five in clinical stages – for cancer, fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and COVID-19. The Company’s lead drug, for the chronic, rare lung condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, is the first AI-designed drug for an AI-discovered target to reach Phase II clinical trials with patients. Nine of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used Insilico’s AI platform to advance their programs, and the Company has a number of major strategic licensing deals around its AI-designed therapeutic assets, including with Sanofi, Exelixis and Menarini. 

 

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a global clinical stage biotechnology company powered by generative AI, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. www.insilico.com 


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Another country is getting ready to launch a visa for digital nomads

Early reports are saying Japan will soon have a digital nomad visa for high-earning foreigners.

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Over the last decade, the explosion of remote work that came as a result of improved technology and the pandemic has allowed an increasing number of people to become digital nomads. 

When looked at more broadly as anyone not required to come into a fixed office but instead moves between different locations such as the home and the coffee shop, the latest estimate shows that there were more than 35 million such workers in the world by the end of 2023 while over half of those come from the United States.

Related: There is a new list of cities that are best for digital nomads

While remote work has also allowed many to move to cheaper places and travel around the world while still bringing in income, working outside of one's home country requires either dual citizenship or work authorization — the global shift toward remote work has pushed many countries to launch specific digital nomad visas to boost their economies and bring in new residents.

Japan is a very popular destination for U.S. tourists. 

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This popular vacation destination will soon have a nomad visa

Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Latvia and Malta are some of the countries currently offering specific visas for foreigners who want to live there while bringing in income from abroad.

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With the exception of a few, Asian countries generally have stricter immigration laws and were much slower to launch these types of visas that some of the countries with weaker economies had as far back as 2015. As first reported by the Japan Times, the country's Immigration Services Agency ended up making the leap toward a visa for those who can earn more than ¥10 million ($68,300 USD) with income from another country.

The Japanese government has not yet worked out the specifics of how long the visa will be valid for or how much it will cost — public comment on the proposal is being accepted throughout next week. 

That said, early reports say the visa will be shorter than the typical digital nomad option that allows foreigners to live in a country for several years. The visa will reportedly be valid for six months or slightly longer but still no more than a year — along with the ability to work, this allows some to stay beyond the 90-day tourist period typically afforded to those from countries with visa-free agreements.

'Not be given a residence card of residence certificate'

While one will be able to reapply for the visa after the time runs out, this can only be done by exiting the country and being away for six months before coming back again — becoming a permanent resident on the pathway to citizenship is an entirely different process with much more strict requirements.

"Those living in Japan with the digital nomad visa will not be given a residence card or a residence certificate, which provide access to certain government benefits," reports the news outlet. "The visa cannot be renewed and must be reapplied for, with this only possible six months after leaving the countr

The visa will reportedly start in March and also allow holders to bring their spouses and families with them. To start using the visa, holders will also need to purchase private health insurance from their home country while taxes on any money one earns will also need to be paid through one's home country.

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