TORONTO, July 18, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Blueberries Medical Corp. (BBM.CN) (BBRRF) (1OA.F) (the “Company” or "Blueberries"), a leading Latin American licensed producer of medicinal cannabis and cannabis-derived products, is pleased to provide investors with the following update on the Company’s significant recent operational achievements and upcoming milestones:
Highlights of Operational Achievements
- Expansion of Cultivation Facilities: Newly constructed open-air greenhouses completed and fully operational, increasing initial production capacity by approximately 40% to 150,000 sq.ft. Upgrade to facility infrastructure, including irrigation and electrical systems, water reservoirs and propagation facility also completed.
- Extensive Cultivation Underway and Scaling Up: Cannabis crops are currently growing in over 50,000 sq.ft. of open-air greenhouses at the Guatavita property; harvesting now underway along with additional planting in newly constructed greenhouses. Yield performance to date has been in line with expectations.
- Extraction: Customized extraction line with capacity to process up to 75,000 kg/year of dried flower currently undergoing specializations and customization to meet EU-GMP standards.
- Strategic Partnerships: Announced several strategic partnerships including (i) an agreement with SLANG Worldwide (CSE:SLNG) (“Slang”) announced on July 11, 2019 to license their extensive portfolio of CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) products and leverage Slang’s industry leading know-how and intellectual property to process and formulate cannabis products in Colombia and Argentina, (ii) a distribution agreement announced on February 14, 2019 with El Manantial, a local medical center network and (iii) a European distribution agreement announced on June 5, 2019.
- Approval of Cosmetic Products: Finalized formulation, branding and packaging for Blueberries approved CBD cosmetics line; pilot manufacturing currently underway at production laboratory.
- Management Enhancement: Added significant cannabis, pharmaceutical and marketing expertise through key management hires including Dr. Patricio Stocker (Chief Executive Officer), Mr. Eduardo Molinari (Chief Marketing Officer) and Mr. Ian Atacan (Chief Financial Officer).
Upcoming 2019 Milestones
- Continued Expansion of Cultivation Facilities: Additional open-air greenhouses currently under construction to bring the Company’s total cultivation area in Colombia to approximately 5 hectares (530,000 sq.ft.).
- Extraction Facility: Continued enhancement and commissioning of extraction/processing equipment for commercial rollout of extracted oils and products.
- Argentina: Commencement of the pilot project which includes the preparation and cultivation of cannabis on a 107,000 sq.ft. (1 hectare) area on public lands provided by state owned entity and JV partner Cannava.
- Cosmetic Products: Commercial launch of Blueberries CBD cosmetics products in Colombia.
- Further Expansion of Distribution Network: Formalizing additional international distribution relationships within Latin-America and globally to bring Blueberries’ extracts, oils and other products to market.
- Innovative Products: Initial testing of cannabis-infused beer formulations and development of other unique products.
“The progress made by the Blueberries team in the short time since our public listing has been truly remarkable and a great source of pride for everyone involved. We are quickly and efficiently building out and scaling our facilities, putting infrastructure in place to move into high-margin extracts and products, and forging strategic relationships to leverage industry expertise and bring our products to international markets,” stated Dr. Patricio Stocker, Chief Executive Officer. “This is an exciting time for the industry and our company as the market and regulations to continue to evolve rapidly both in Latin America and globally. We will continue to drive towards our future milestones with the goal of generating significant value for our shareholders.”
For further information on the Company’s recent developments please see the investor presentation (www.blueberriesmed.com/investors/) and media (www.blueberriesmed.com/photo-gallery/) on the Company’s website.
Blueberries currently has 1.4 hectares (150,000 sq.ft.) of open-air greenhouses built and fully operational with construction of additional greenhouses underway to increase the Company’s cultivation footprint to approximately 5 hectares (~530,000 sq.ft.) in Colombia by the end of 2019. By 2022, the Company intends to further expand its cultivation footprint to approximately 48 hectares (~5.2 million sq.ft.) of cultivation capacity through Company owned operations in Colombia and its joint venture operations in Argentina. The company also intends to further increase its cultivation capacity through leveraging local contract growers in Colombia and additional available land in Argentina for which negotiations are currently underway.
EU-GMP Processing and Extraction Facility
Initial extraction line with capacity to process up to 75,000 kg/year of dried flower is currently undergoing specializations to meet EU-GMP standards. The company is also advancing the process of commissioning an EU-GMP compliant1 facility in an ideal industrial area, with capacity to scale up its extraction, processing and manufacturing capabilities.
Argentinian Pilot Project
Blueberries’ participation in the joint venture agreement with Cannava (Cannabis Avatara S.E), a state-owned Argentinian Company, was executed in July 2019. Under the agreement, Blueberries gains rights to cannabis licenses in Argentina; one of very few such agreements currently in place, to supply cannabis products to the Argentinian population exceeding 44 million people. It also expands the Company’s production footprint internationally and may provide additional export opportunities to other countries with evolving cannabis regulations. The first phase of the Joint Venture will be a Pilot Cultivation Program (the “Pilot Project”) consisting of the preparation and cultivation of cannabis on a 107,000 sq.ft. (1 hectare) area on public lands provided by Cannava with the goal of potentially producing 4 million grams (4,000 kg) of dry cannabis flower.
This Pilot Project will also evaluate and characterize the genetics that are ideal for the climate conditions of Jujuy province, and document the proposed operating procedures, technical processes, strains and products that the joint venture is seeking to produce. The Company is currently in the final stages of preparing the proposed pilot cultivation program for Cannava’s approval and processing of the applications for the permits with the goal of completing the pilot cultivation program by May 2020. Upon successful execution of the pilot cultivation program, the parties expect to commence the commercial production phase of the project.
Ongoing Business Development
Blueberries is currently in advanced discussions with distributors possessing existing relationships with leading Colombian end-product wholesalers and retailers in appropriate health and wellness (and related) verticals. Blueberries anticipates having the first pilot batch of CBD products launched in Q3 2019.
The Company expects to confirm at least one such relationship in Q3-2019 in parallel with certified production facilities coming on-stream, with commencement of product distribution and related revenues generated early 2020.
Blueberries and SLANG Worldwide entered into a MOU to develop a strategic partnership through which Blueberries may license SLANG’s extensive portfolio of renowned cannabis brands and leverage SLANG’s industry leading know-how and intellectual property to process and formulate cannabis products in Colombia and Argentina.
Blueberries has also entered into an agreement to become a strategic supplier of medical cannabis products to Canurius UG for the sale and distribution of cannabis products in Germany with the potential for expansion into Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Blueberries is actively advancing discussions regarding distribution agreements with major partners in target markets in both Europe and South America, each of whom possesses strong in-market relationships and capacities appropriate to market needs. In these markets, relationships are focused on effective market strategies of selling medicinal-grade cannabis extracts at scale, through established distributors directly to end-product manufacturers for market distribution. Blueberries expects to enter into at least two additional relationships during 2019 with commencement of product distribution and revenues by Q1-2020.
Strategic Additions to strengthen Blueberries Executive Team
In the second quarter of 2019, Blueberries management team was further strengthened with Mr. Eduardo Molinari joining the company as Chief Marketing Officer and Mr. Ian Atacan as Chief Financial Officer, in addition to its CEO, Dr. Patricio Stocker.
In March, 2019, Blueberries reported a significant addition to its team with the appointment of Dr. Patricio Stocker as its CEO. Dr. Stocker is an accomplished executive with extensive international experience, having served as PharmaCielo’s (PCLO.V) Chairman, Director and CEO from 2015 to 2018. During his tenure as PharmaCielo’s CEO, Dr. Stocker played a key role in the development of corporate strategies, the formation of strategic relationships, the cannabis licensing process, and capital raising initiatives. At PharmaCielo, Dr. Stocker was actively involved in the development of the company’s Colombian operations and helped his team establish a scalable and competitive cultivation and oil production strategy.
In April 2019, the Company announced the appointment of Eduardo Molinari, a former executive of Abbott Laboratories (ABT) and AbbVie Ltd. (ABBV) as its Chief Marketing Officer. Mr. Molinari leads the development and implementation of the company’s marketing strategies, directing these initiatives in Argentina, Colombia and globally. Mr. Molinari has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having held executive leadership positions in countries across Latin America, most recently VP Region North – Latin America of AbbVie until December 2018. His business expertise is combined with deep experience in R&D both in academia at Northwestern University Medical School and in the pharmaceutical industry.
In June, 2019 Blueberries announced the appointment of the new CFO, Mr. Ian D. Atacan, CPA, CMA, the former CFO of Natura Naturals Inc. (acquired by Tilray, Inc. NASDAQ: TLRY). Mr. Atacan has extensive experience in national and international public companies, mainly in business strategy development, valuations of M&A, debt and equity financing, divestitures and investment transactions, financial modeling, project management, competitive analysis and developing strategic investment recommendations. Mr. Atacan was previously the CFO of Global Atomic Corporation (formerly Silvermet Inc. TSX: GLO). Mr. Atacan is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA), MBA (London, UK) and Electrical & Electronics Engineer. Mr. Atacan began his career working for Procter & Gamble.
About Blueberries Medical Corp.
Blueberries is a Latin American licensed producer of naturally grown premium quality cannabis with its primary operations ideally located in the Bogotá Savannah of central Colombia and operations currently being established in Argentina. The Company is led by a specialized team with proprietary expertise in agriculture, genetics, extraction, medicine, pharmacology and marketing, Blueberries is fully licensed for the cultivation, production, domestic distribution, and international export of CBD and THC-based medical cannabis in Colombia. Blueberries’ combination of leading scientific expertise, agricultural advantages and distribution arrangements has positioned the Company to become a leading international supplier of naturally grown, processed, and standardized medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products.
Additional information about the Company is available at www.blueberriesmed.com. For more information, please contact:
Camilo Villalba, Chief Operating Officer
Tel: +57 (313) 483 0131
Ian Atacan, Chief Financial Officer
Tel: +1 (416) 562 3220
Jessika Angarita, Pacta Relations
Tel: +1 (305) 877 4710
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release contains "forward-looking information" and "forward-looking statements" (collectively, "forward looking statements") within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements historical fact, are forward-looking statements and are based on expectations, estimates and projections as at the date of this news release. Any statement that involves discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions, future events or performance (often but not always using phrases such as “expects”, or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, “plans”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “forecasts”, “estimates”, “believes” or “intends” or variations of such words and phrases or stating that certain actions, events or results “may” or “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken to occur or be achieved) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements. In this news release, forward looking statements relate, among other things, to: closing of the proposed transactions and achieving milestones in 2019 as contemplated, or at all, ability to expand distribution networks, ability to expand and upgrade the Company’s cultivation facilities in Colombia, internal expectations, expectations regarding the ability of the Company to access new Latin American and international markets, the ability to attract and retain new customers, and future expansion plans including development of the cultivation, production, industrialization and marketing of cannabis for commercial and scientific purposes.
These forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions and estimates of management of the Company at the time such statements were made. Actual future results may differ materially as forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to materially differ from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors, among other things, include: fluctuations in general macroeconomic conditions; fluctuations in securities markets; expectations regarding the size of the Colombian and international medical cannabis market and changing consumer habits; the ability of the Company to successfully achieve its business objectives; plans for expansion; political and social uncertainties; inability to obtain adequate insurance to cover risks and hazards; and the presence of laws and regulations that may impose restrictions on cultivation, production, distribution and sale of cannabis and cannabis related products in Colombia, Argentina and elsewhere; and employee relations. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are based upon what management of the Company believes, or believed at the time, to be reasonable assumptions, the Company cannot assure shareholders that actual results will be consistent with such forward-looking statements, as there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements and information contained in this news release. The Company assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements of beliefs, opinions, projections, or other factors, should they change, except as required by law.
Additional information regarding the Company, and other risks and uncertainties relating to the Company's business are contained under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Listing Statement dated January 31, 2019 filed on its issuer profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein.