Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACBFF) to Acquire Cannabis Science Leader Anandia Laboratories Inc.

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Aurora Cannabis Inc. (“Aurora” or the “Company”) (ACB.TO) (ACBFF) ( Frankfurt : 21P; WKN: A1C4WM) and Anandia Laboratories Inc. (“Anandia“) announced today that they have signed a binding term sheet whereby Aurora intends to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of privately-held Anandia in an all share transaction valued at approximately $115 million on a fully diluted basis (the “Transaction”).

Led by CEO and co-founder Jonathan Page , PhD, one of the industry’s most widely recognized cannabis experts, Anandia is considered the industry leader in science, genetics, and independent cannabis product testing. Dr. Page was the first scientist to sequence the cannabis genome and provide deep insights into the biosynthesis of cannabinoids and the interplay between cannabinoids and terpenes.

Anandia’s COO and co-founder, John Coleman , PhD, brings over 20 years of experience in drug research and commercialization as a natural product chemist. He previously worked in the biotech industry, most recently leading the team identifying new drug targets for the federally funded Centre for Drug Research and Development.

Anandia’s intellectual property (“IP”) includes the exclusive rights to a number of key genes in the cannabinoid pathway, as well as patents pending for genetic markers. The strength of Anandia’s expert staff, proprietary assets and know-how will provide Aurora with a very significant advantage in developing new cannabis cultivars. For instance, genome-based variety development and technological fortification can tailor metabolite (cannabinoid and terpene) profiles, improve disease resistance, enhance crop yield and optimize flowering time, and can be employed to develop specialized cultivars for oil production.

In advance of the forthcoming legalization of the adult use market and the significant associated growth, Anandia intends to expand its R&D, product testing, and product development facilities to meet both domestic and international demand, including the development of:

  • A 12,700 sq. ft. corporate head office, testing lab, R&D and tissue culture facility in Vancouver, British Columbia . This existing laboratory is undergoing security upgrades, with operations planned to coincide with legalization.
  • A unique, 22,500 sq. ft., Aurora Larssen Projects Inc. (“ALP’s”) designed and constructed, Cannabis Innovation Centre, focused on cannabis breeding and genetics. This purpose-built greenhouse with an associated 10,000 sq. ft. laboratory building in Comox, BC is currently under construction and is located five minutes from a major airport, and has the option to expand to 100,000+ sq. ft. The project is on track with development permitting in-place, and construction planned for summer/fall 2018.

Anandia follows a three-pronged approach to creating value for its clients licensed under Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (“ACMPR”) and intends to continue to do so following completion of the Transaction:

  • Independent Third-Party Analytical Testing: which includes cannabinoids, terpenes and contaminants (microorganisms, pesticides, heavy metals and others).
  • Genetics: plant breeding, tissue culture and strain archiving, as well as genomics-based technologies.
  • Product Development: development of cannabinoid preparations and formulations.

Combining with Aurora gives Anandia access to significant new market opportunities in Canada and internationally through Aurora’s global footprint. Furthermore, leveraging Aurora’s capabilities and capacity in facility development, the combination will accelerate the construction of Anandia’s testing and product development laboratory in Vancouver , and a unique, purpose-built cannabis breeding facility ahead of Canadian adult-use legalization,

Anandia’s Product Testing

Anandia’s cannabis testing services will remain operationally independent of Aurora. These services will remain intact and Anandia is committed to continuing to serve all clients, including Licensed Producers and patient-growers, and Anandia is committed to maintaining complete data confidentiality. Anandia will continue to build capacity to take on the increased sample volume arising from legalization, including expansion to its new testing facility in Vancouver .

Management Commentary

“This is a transformative acquisition that expands our science capabilities in the upstream segment of the seed-to-sale cannabis value chain, significantly boosting plant-based innovations in cultivation, enabling accelerated product development, and, ultimately, enhancing our margin profile going forward,” said Terry Booth , CEO of Aurora. “Anandia has a fantastic, complementary corporate culture and some of the best and brightest minds in the cannabis industry, including Dr. Jonathan Page , the first scientist to sequence the cannabis genome. By adding Dr. Page and the Anandia team to the existing Aurora and CanniMed research infrastructure, we are assembling a unique, world-class research group to capitalize on the many exciting opportunities the cannabis plant offers society.”

Dr. Jonathan Page , Anandia’s co-founder and CEO, added, “Anandia is already on its way to developing a world-leading library of cannabis genetics coupled with in-depth genomic analysis. We expect our breeding efforts to be accelerated through access to Aurora’s financial resources and scientific expertise, as well as through the addition of Aurora’s multiple cultivation sites. Anandia and Aurora are strong believers in research and science-based solutions. Joining forces with Aurora allows us to continue to provide best-in-class testing services to our customers, while rapidly advancing cannabis science for the benefit of patients, consumers and growers.”

By: J. Phillip, Marijuana Stocks

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