NEW YORK, May 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The trend of cannabis legalization in several countries is one of the key factors driving the market's growth. Additionally, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is gaining momentum worldwide. Medical cannabis products are used for the treatment of various chronic conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and neurological conditions, such as anxiety, depression, epilepsy, as well as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Such a wide scope of applications is also anticipated to further expand the target demographic of the market. As a result, the global legal cannabis market size is expected to reach USD 73.6 Billion by 2027, according to a new report published by Grand View Research, Inc. Furthermore, it is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 18.1% during the forecast period of 2019-2027. Now, like cannabis products for medical purposes, psychedelic products are gaining popularity. Newleaf Brands Inc. (OTC: NLBIF) (CSE: NLB), Pyxus International, Inc. (NYSE: PYX), Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), 22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE: XXII)
Psychedelics are not legal for recreational use in Canada or the United States, yet medical research on the efficiency of such products may help reduce some of the stigma associated with them. For example, the company Mind Med owns the intellectual property around a drug known as 18-MC, a synthetic form of the hallucinogenic drug Ibogaine. Clinical trials looking at the effectiveness of 18-MC in treating opioid and nicotine addiction are currently in early stages in the U.S. "The first psychedelics company I sat down with was maybe two or three years ago, so they've been around for a while. But in the last maybe three or four months, we've had several companies come through our door raising capital," said Elizabeth Staltari, Managing Director of health-care investment banking at Eight Capital Corp. according to an article by The Globe and Mail. "Whether they all end up going public or not, I don't know. But there are certainly companies out there looking for money, and it looks like there's people willing to fund them."
Newleaf Brands Inc. (OTC: NLBIF) (CSE: NLB) just announced breaking news that, "it has signed a non-binding Letter of Intent ("LOI") with Mindleap Health Inc. ("Mindleap"), dated May 20, 2020, pursuant to which NewLeaf Brands will acquire, by way of share exchange, 100% of all of the issued and outstanding securities of Mindleap, an arm's length company.
Mindleap is an advanced digital health platform that helps people connect with mental health specialists that can empower them to thrive and develop habits for a healthy mind. The software platform has been designed by leading psychologists and neuroscientists to improve on current telemedicine solutions and is set to launch in Q3 of 2020. Mindleap's software development team has a proven track record in delivering software solutions on budget and on time. Mindleap's developers have previously launched successful HIPAA compliant eHealth applications and, cumulatively, have developed over 200 software applications in the last decade.
Today, more than 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, with about 100 million of whom do not respond to available treatments. Psychedelic medicine offers the potential to revolutionize the mental health industry and is witnessing staggering growth. Mindleap is uniquely designed to meet the needs of the over 90+ psychedelic clinics and 30 million underground psychedelic users. The company's platform will allow mental health specialists to provide psychedelic aftercare along with addiction, and holistic wellness services and programs.
Mindleap Health Founder and CEO, Nikolai Vassev stated: 'We have always believed in building strong alliances and are extremely pleased to begin working with the talented team at New Leaf. Their investment in Mindleap will allow us to speed up our time to market, add more advanced capabilities but most importantly will get us closer to our goal of improving access to mental health services for those that need them most.'
The Global Telemedicine Market Size was valued at USD 31.46 Billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 19.28% until 2025. The pandemic has shown the need for virtual therapy services and it's expected there will be over 1 billion telemedicine sessions by the end of 2020 . Mindleap's innovative technology and business model strive to capture a unique and growing piece of that market.
NewLeaf Brands Director and CEO, Josh Bartch, stated: 'Upon diving into Mindleap's unique approach to the mental health space and seeing their innovative technology we were immediately blown away. Mindleap fills a much needed void in the marketplace that we see as an incredibly important aspect of the overall success of modern mental health treatments. Mindleap's unique focus on psychedelic aftercare, addiction and holistic wellness fits well with our strategy and we are excited for them to join the NewLeaf family.'
Pursuant to the LOI, NewLeaf Brands will acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares in the capital of Mindleap in exchange for CAD $3,500,000, payable in common shares in the capital of the Company at a deemed price per share equal to CAD $0.55, as of the date of signing the LOI. NewLeaf Brands shall also advance CAD $500,000 in direct investment into Mindleap upon closing of the transaction and CAD $500,000 before, or on, September 1, 2020.
The Company will pay a finder's fee for the transaction. The Company will look to close the transaction following the completion of the due diligence investigations. Closing is subject to definitive documentation and applicable regulatory approvals."
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Pyxus International, Inc. (NYSE: PYX) announce earlier this year that its wholly-owned indirect subsidiary, Figr Brands, Inc., had launched a line of THC vape products in the Canadian marketplace. The line includes a vaping device and pods designed exclusively for the device. The launch of the product line follows the phase two implementation of Canada's recreational cannabis legalization process, frequently referenced as Cannabis 2.0. "The Canadian government's green light for derivative cannabis products, including vape, presents the opportunity for Figr to progress its product diversification in order to meet the growing demand for high-quality, adult-use cannabis products," said Pyxus President, CEO and Chairman Pieter Sikkel. "The launch of Figr's new products is particularly timely, as the company continues to expand its footprint across Canada."
Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) announced last September that it had closed its previously announced acquisition of four Redwood Holding Group, LLC operating subsidiaries. The transaction provides Cronos Group with a leading U.S. hemp-based products platform, including hemp-derived cannabidiol infused skincare and other consumer products that are sold online and through retail and hospitality partner channels in the United States under the brand, Lord Jones™. Mike Gorenstein, Cronos Group's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "this acquisition is one of a number of new growth opportunities that is differentiating our company and our strategic direction. We are pleased to have completed this acquisition and look forward to working closely with Rob and Cindy to further build on their record of innovation and fully capitalize on the platform they have created."
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), the leader in innovative pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid therapies for rare and near-rare neuropsychiatric disorders, presented data in March further describing the baseline characteristics of the pediatric and adolescent patients in the fully-enrolled Phase 2 BRIGHT trial of Zygel™ (CBD transdermal gel; ZYN002) in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), indicating that the trial enrolled a broad population of patients with moderate-to-severe ASD. "ASD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with behaviors, communication, and social interaction," said Zynerba's Chief Medical Officer, Joseph M. Palumbo. "Pediatric and adolescent patients with ASD may also present with profound clinical anxiety, above the rate seen in neurotypical children, further complicating their condition and treatment regimen. Unfortunately, current ASD management options are restricted to cognitive behavioral therapy and a small number of approved pharmacologic treatments, highlighting the substantial unmet need for novel therapies in this population. We believe that we have enrolled an appropriate population of patients into our well-designed exploratory BRIGHT trial to enable a robust analysis of outcomes to help inform the design of future double-blind, placebo-controlled studies."
22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE: XXII) announced last year, the initial closing of an investment in Panacea Life Sciences, Inc. (Panacea), a rapidly-growing, vertically-integrated, consumer-facing company operating exclusively in the legal, hemp-derived, CBD product space. 22nd Century's investments in Panacea over the next twelve to eighteen months are expected to total USD 24 Million, in a combination of cash and 22nd Century stock in exchange for Panacea-issued debt and preferred equity. 22nd Century has also received a warrant to purchase preferred stock of Panacea, which upon full exercise will provide 22nd Century with a controlling equity position in Panacea. "After a disciplined and thorough review of the opportunities available to 22nd Century to maximize shareholder value creation, we are pleased to announce the Company's first investment in the legal, hemp/cannabis, consumer packaged goods space," said Cliff Fleet, President and Chief Executive Officer of 22nd Century Group. "This investment is a major milestone in 22nd Century's on-going execution of our hemp/cannabis strategic growth plan and offers the opportunity for strong projected shareholder returns.