ABcann Global Executive Team Highlights Recreational and Pharmaceutical Focus
December 4th, 2017
Exclusive, News, Top News
The Canadian cannabis industry is projected to reach $22.6 billion in size over the coming years, according to Deloitte, but many licensed producers anticipate a shortfall in production given expectations for high demand. Many licensed producers have responded by ramping up production, but quality has suffered, as evidenced by growing recalls. Patients have ended up suffering as the industry faces growing pains, underscoring the need to develop pharmaceutical grade treatment options.
At the same time, Canada’s upcoming legalization of adult use of cannabis points to the need to develop and brand a variety of products for recreational use. This is a very different market than the medical one, requiring more of a retail approach to separate a company’s products from competitors in the minds of consumers.
ABcann Global Corp. (TSX-V: ABCN) (OTCQB: ABCCF) has assembled a world-class team of pharmaceutical and adult beverage executives to address both issues. Investors may want to take a closer look at the stock as it makes a transition from an early stage producer with noted cultivation expertise into a pharmaceutical-grade operation that can also effectively market retail products.
On October 1, 2017, CEO Aaron Keay handed over the reins to Barry Fishman. Mr. Keay served the company very well with his expertise in navigating capital markets, successfully guiding ABcann through its early stages of development, going public in the spring of 2017, and leaving the company well-financed to execute its expansion plans. Mr. Keay remains as an active member of the Board of Directors, contributing his expertise in the capital markets as well as potential mergers and acquisitions.
Barry Fishman’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer marks an important turning point in ABcann Global’s corporate history. With over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical executive roles, Mr. Fishman is well-equipped to guide the company from an aspiring and early-stage licensed producer to an operations-focused company that aims to produce pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products.
Most recently, Mr. Fishman served as CEO of Merus Labs (TSE: MSL) (NASDAQ: MSLI), a specialty pharmaceutical company, where he grew revenue and EBITDA at a compound annual growth rate of more than 50% before Norgine BC acquired the company for $342 million in July of 2017. He also has several years of experience serving as a director of public companies in the cannabis sector, which provides very relevant experience.
Effective December 1, Dr. Michael Bumby joins the team as CFO. His most recent experience was as CFO of Merus Labs, with Mr. Fishman. Prior to Merus, he spent 14 years with Eli Lilly where he worked extensively in finance, investment banking, and international markets. This type of experience should prove beneficial as ABcann expands its pharmaceutical development and explores international opportunities.
In mid-October, the company appointed Paul Lucas as independent Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. As the former President & CEO of GlaxoSmithKline Canada (NYSE: GSK) between 1994 and 2012, he has tremendous experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is well-equipped to guide the company in its transition to a pharmaceutical-grade licensed producer of medical cannabis.
The company’s focus is now firmly set on delivering consistent, standardized medicinal cannabis that the public and patients can rely on, as well as adult-use products that produce consistent results. After all, the industry has experienced – and continues to experience – many recalls stemming from tainted products, while patients continue to struggle to find medicine that is standardized enough to produce the same results every time they are taken.
The company also appointed Richard Fitzgerald to the Board of Directors in mid-November. As the former Canadian President of Mark Anthony Brands – one of North America’s most successful alcoholic beverage companies with brands like Mike’s Hard Lemonade® – Mr. Fitzgerald is uniquely positioned to prepare the company for future success in the adult-use segment of the market that is closely related to the alcohol industry.
Until 2008, Mr. Fitzgerald was the Chairman of Diageo Canada Inc. and previously served as the company’s President and CEO. Before being overtaken earlier this year by a Chinese company, Diageo was the world’s largest distiller. Diageo’s brands include Smirnoff® and Johnnie Walker®. Earlier experience includes positions with Guinness North America as well as with Benson & Hedges.
The alcohol and tobacco industries are probably the most similar to the nascent legal cannabis industry. They are all heavily regulated and age-restricted. Marketing these products is filled with challenges. Branding is incredibly important as customers exhibit high levels of loyalty. Mr. Fitzgerald’s voice will undoubtedly be an important one for ABcann as the company sets its course in the pending legal cannabis market.
ABcann Global Corp. (CVE: ABCN) represents a compelling opportunity in Canada’s cannabis industry. With an exceptional team at the helm, the company is well positioned to transition from an early-stage company to an established licensed producer capable of delivering high quality products to consumers and patients. Investors interested in the space may want to take a closer look at the stock as it moves forward with its plans to become a pharmaceutical-grade supplier of medicinal cannabis products.
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