SEED-TO PATIENT Jamaican cannabis firm Apollon Formularies is the latest medical cannabis company to debut on the London markets in a reverse takeover set to conclude within weeks.
The deal will see host company AfriAg renamed Apollon Formularies PLC with £2.5m raised to fund its global expansion. It is listing on the junior AQSE Growth Market where AfriAg has been a member since 2008.
This latest bout of UK market activity comes on a momentous day for the main London Stock Exchange where Cellular Goods (LSE: CBX) becomes the first CBD company to debut in its 320-year history. Its stock price was up 300% in early trading
Medical Cannabis Exports
Dr Stephen Barnhill, CEO and Founder of Apollon, told BusinessCann it is excited by the prospects that lie ahead. “This is a big opportunity for us. we will be a public company that can handle THC. It’s very exciting.
“Apollon delivers high-end formulations of disease-specific products that are patient-specific. One of our aims is to secure the clinical data which can help get the world educated on how to use medical cannabis correctly.
“With all of the necessary licences secured in Jamaica Apollon is now looking to the export markets of Europe, UK, North and South America – anywhere where medical cannabis is legal.”
After giving a medical cannabis talk on the Caribbean island in 2015 he was asked by the Jamaican government to establish a legal treatment facility and assimilate clinical data.
This facility now encompass the whole medical cannabis package in what must be one of the few holistic developments of its kind anywhere in the world. As well as Jamaican citizens it has an international reputation serving overseas patients.
AfriAg was initially launched on what is now the AQSE Growth Market in May 2008 as Diagnostic Imaging Plc – a tooth decay detection device business.
In April 2013 it relaunched as AfriAg as an importer of fresh fruit and vegetables from Africa and elsewhere, before it identified the emerging opportunities in medical cannabis in 2018.
One of its first moves was to acquire 2.68% of Apollon and this new arrangement will see it acquire the remaining shares.
The initial cash deal amounted to £1.16m and it is proposed to acquire the remainder of Apollon through the issue of new ordinary shares valued at £2.5m – which constitutes a reverse takeover under the market’s rules. The deal is set to conclude in March.
Out Of Retirement
Mr Barnhill founded award-winning Apollon in 2013 after witnessing first-hand how it helped ease the nausea his mum suffered undergoing chemotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer.
This led him to come out of retirement and resume his medical career saying he wanted to ‘spend the rest of his life working with cannabis’.
“My aim was to apply the scientific rigour of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and apply my own skillsets in AI (Artificial Intelligence).
“Cannabis is a very good medicine and it works, and it’s time it was dealt with like other ‘real’ medicines. If you know how to use it, how to dose and administer it, and what is in the product the success rate goes up significantly,” he said.
Apollon opened the Jamaican arm of the Doc’s Place International health and wellness resorts in 2019, as the domestic authorities look to encourage over 100,000 medical cannabis patient to come to the isalnd over the coming years.
What Apollon Is And Does
Based in tourist hot spot of Negril Apollon operates on a ‘seed to patient’ basis. It cultivates, processes, manufactures, undertakes R& D and clinical trials and has a therapeutic dispensary and treatment facility.
The cannabis-trained medical team includes palliative specialists, neurologists, oncologists, and family practitioners for condition such as colitis.
Apollon uses AI to analyse plant genetics and phenotypes allowing it to then use machine learning and pattern recognition to determine the best combination of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids to optimise disease treatments and develop its own strains.
In addition, it takes patient clinical data and analyses this using the patient’s genome.
Dr Barnhill said: “As with regular cancer chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer today the first thing they do now is test the genome and your treatment is based on the genome response.
“We are now bringing this into cannabis space – in a trial, for example, if half of the breast cancer patients do well and the others don’t we can look at their genomes and identify which genes are present and triage into the correct treatment based on that.
“Conditions are treated differently. People don’t realise how advanced we have become. Bacterial pneumonia, for example is treated with augmentin with the data coming from clinical trials but if the dose is not at the right level it may not be effective and it is the same with medical cannabis.
“In many cases people don’t know the right dose for the disease. Look what happens in the US with advice being given by budtenders; People, have to be educated on the specifics doses, ratios and formulations and specific routes of administration.”
Apollon has developed a 3D printer facility complete with to cartridges one featuring a while plant extract and the second a THC cartridge which allows for the creation of bespoke, off-site medicines.