New cannabinoid R&D collaboration
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28 May 2019
Highlands Natural Resources plc
("Highlands" or the "Company")
New cannabinoid R&D collaboration
First patent filed
Highlands, the London-listed natural resources company, is pleased to provide the following update on developments at Zoetic, the premium and organic producer of CBD products and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company.
Further to Highlands' trading update on 9 May 2019, in which it outlined the Company's strategy to produce feminised hemp seeds for sale to other hemp producers at its 33,000 sq ft state of the art growing facility, Highlands today announces a collaboration with analytical chemist Stephen Goldman, to examine, develop and file patents and other intellectual property on behalf of Company in the areas of (i) agricultural genetics and (ii) pharmaceutical and wellness products based on, or incorporating, cannabinoids.
Mr Goldman has considerable experience in the field of cannabinoids and has developed several propositions in these areas and has agreed to work with Highlands, in conjunction with the Company's activities at Zoetic, to bring these developments to commercial success. It is anticipated that Mr Goldman's expertise in agricultural genetics will enhance Zoetic's existing work on developing the most suitable strains of hemp for seed production. Mr Goldman's research also brings to Highlands an additional area to exploit the potential medical and wellness benefits of the physical combination of cannabinoids with other active ingredients.
Highlands is pleased to announce that it has already filed the first patent in relation to Mr Goldman's work. The patent relates to the methodology for combining cannabinoids with pharmaceutical and wellness products.
Highlands will fund the costs of the collaboration and Mr Goldman has agreed that all intellectual property that is developed will be owned by Highlands. The costs, which are not expected to be material, will be primarily patent filing fees and some limited clinical work carried out by Mr Goldman himself. Mr Goldman, who joins Highlands as a consultant, has been awarded options over 4,000,000 ordinary shares in Highlands. These options, which are exercisable at 12 pence per ordinary share, vest in four equal instalments: one quarter vest immediately with a further quarter on each anniversary of the date of Mr Goldman's consultancy agreement.
Robert Price, Executive Chairman and CEO of Highlands, said: "Our progress at Zoetic continues at pace and we remain on track to achieve our first revenues in June from deliveries to Schrader Oil convenience stores and the launch of our own direct sales website.
"Our collaboration with Stephen Goldman significantly advances our expertise in seed development and agricultural genetics and underpins our strategy to develop high quality feminised seeds for sale to hemp producers, a strategy which has significant revenue potential. In addition, the inclusion of Stephen's research on the pharmaceutical combination of cannabinoids with other active ingredients adds a further business opportunity to Highlands and one that we can progress very cost-effectively. The fact that we have already filed our first patent in this area demonstrates just how far advanced this research is."
Rationale for pharmaceutical and wellness research
Cannabinoids, including but not limited to cannabidiol ("CBD"), are lipophilic molecules that, tend to accumulate and/or be stored in a person's lipocytes (fat cells) and are metabolized more slowly than certain other pharmaceutical medicines, thereby having a potential longer lasting effect. Cannabinoids also tend to differ from many other pharmaceutical products in other ways; particularly, some cannabinoids, including CBD, may act as liver enzyme inhibitors (which may cause compounds co-administered with the cannabinoid to remain in a person's bloodstream for a longer time) and/or have greater ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Highlands and Mr Goldman consider that compositions comprising a cannabinoid and a pharmaceutical medicine, in which the cannabinoid could modify the pharmacodynamic and/or pharmacokinetic profile of the active ingredient, represents an area of considerable interest.
Background on Stephen Goldman
Stephen Goldman is an analytical chemist with extensive industrial and academic laboratory experience. He has served as a Laboratory Director for an ISO-17025 accredited and certified cannabis testing facility during which he oversaw the testing of more than 130,000 cannabis and hemp samples.
He is also the founder of Cannin, a cannabis-based investment company focused on teaching others about cannabis, about investing, and helping them to place investments in the industry through market research, automated trading models, and fundamental and technical analyses.
He has expertise in gas chromatography, high pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, chemical and biochemical engineering as well as project and business management. Stephen has served as an analytical chemist at the clinically-certified Forensic Laboratories, supporting toxicology testing. He was also a scientist-chemist for Novartis (Sandoz), Kemin Industries, Genentech and served as a contract chemist. In that capacity, Stephen was involved in research into biocatalyst production and new chemistry products, nutraceuticals, antibody conjugate linkers, technical services, quality control, analytical method development and validation.
Before embarking on a career in the private sector, he was a research assistant in academic laboratories at the University of Kansas and the University of Iowa. There, he engaged in research into the intracellular trafficking, cellular localization and stability of small molecules as well as the purification and quantification of heparin oligosaccharides.
Stephen has published a number of research papers in the fields of biological and analytical chemistry. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and the American Chemical Society. Stephen has a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Chemistry with Honors from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Iowa.
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