Apollon Formularies plc Announces CEO Review of 2021
LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / January 25, 2022 / Apollon Formularies plc (AQSE:APOL)(“Apollon” or the “Company”), a UK based international pharmaceutical company specializing in medical cannabis and trading on AQSE Growth Market, is pleased to release its inaugural CEO’s Year in Review for 2021 letter to the shareholders from Dr. Stephen D. Barnhill, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Apollon Formularies.
Dear Fellow Shareholders,
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I am writing to you today in my first shareholder letter since being appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Apollon Formularies plc. Last year, 2021 was a year of remarkable accomplishments for our company. Today, we are a distinctly different organization than we were when we started. I am very pleased with the progress that has been made across all parts of the Apollon business during the year and I am confident the next 12 months will see significant growth as attention now turns to increased revenue generation and a global roll out of our medical cannabis products.
Indeed, this is an exciting time for a company to be in the medical cannabis business with widespread global interest in cannabinoid medicines. You may have seen some of the recent headlines in the news regarding Big Pharma’s new enthusiasm for the medical cannabis industry, including: “Pfizer Bets on Medical Cannabis With $6.7 Billion Acquisition” describing their acquisition of Arena Pharmaceuticals published by Forbes¹ and “Jazz Pharmaceuticals to buy GW Pharmaceuticals for US$7.2B in cash, stock” as announced by BNN Bloomberg².
The increased interest by Big Pharma easy to understand. According to the Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2030 report, “the global medical cannabis industry generated $6.82 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach $53.88 billion by 2030, witnessing a CAGR of 23.6% from 2021 to 2030”.³
Below, I will highlight some of Apollon’s accomplishments over the past year and also introduce you to some welcome additions to our highly expert team.
In April 2021, Apollon Formularies plc was admitted for trading on London’s AQSE Growth Market under the symbol APOL and successfully completed a £2.5 million funding round. This public listing was notable as Apollon was among the first medical cannabis companies legally licenced to work with full-spectrum high THC medical cannabis products allowed to be publicly listed in London.
Successful Pre-Clinical Cancer Testing of Apollon Cancer Formulations:
I am happy to report that Apollon has completed development of 12 proprietary medical cannabis formulations including products for use in cancer patients. These highly specialized formulations were developed, in part, using artificial intelligence techniques under the supervision of Apollon’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Herb Fritsche.
Dr. Fritsche is a world-renowned Clinical Chemist and former Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Chief of the Clinical Chemistry Section at The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for 41 years. He served as an invited consultant/advisor to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Expert Panel for developing Tumor Marker Practice Guidelines for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), on the Laboratory Practice Guidelines Committee for the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB), on the Editorial Board of six international scientific journals, and as a consultant to many major international diagnostic companies.
Dr. Fritsche and I have worked together for more than 30 years in artificial intelligence derived cancer biomarker discovery for personalized medicine triage in diagnostics and treatment and have published many peer-reviewed publications together.
We sent nine Apollon proprietary medical cannabis cancer formulations for independent 3rd Party pre-clinical testing and validation to BIOENSIS laboratories in the United States. The results of the testing processed so far yielded extraordinary findings.
Laboratory results showed a number of Apollon’s medical cannabis cancer formulations, were successful in killing nearly 100% of cancer cells from 10 different cancer cell lines in 3D cell culture including triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), HER2+ breast cancer⁴, ER+/PR+ breast cancer⁵, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and hormone-resistant prostate cancer⁶. The Company is yet to process the remaining results and will update the market of these in due course. 3D cell culture models allow researchers to recreate specific pathophysiological conditions and tumorigenic processes to identify potential biomarkers for therapeutic targeting or assessing cell response to therapies and drug efficacy.⁷ The improvement in 3D culture technology has led to the generation of in vitro models that can encompass more physiological and tissue-specific microenvironments with the aim to overcome the drawbacks observed in other pre-clinical models and have better predictive value for clinical outcomes.⁸ We were extremely pleased with these pre-clinical results.
Apollon’s International Cancer and Chronic Pain institute:
After successfully completing the pre-clinical testing on the Apollon medical cannabis cancer formulations, the decision was made to open the first International Cancer and Chronic Pain Institute (“ICCPI”) in Kingston, Jamaica and in June 2021, the Company announced the signing of a long-term lease for this facility.⁹ The ICCPI was officially opened in December 2021 for the purpose of treating private patients by physician prescription and performing human clinical trials to validate the results seen in our successful pre-clinical testing.¹⁰
The ICCPI has a full medical team of licensed physicians currently treating patients at the facility. As previously announced, the Medical Director of the Institute is Dr. Dingle Spence, a board-certified physician specialising in Clinical Oncology, Radiation Therapy, and Palliative Care Medicine.¹¹ Also seeing patients at the facility is Dr. Anthony Hall, a board-certified neurosurgeon licensed to practice in the US and Jamaica, Dr. Al Dawes, a board-certified general surgeon, Dr. Marjorie Vassell, a family practitioner, and Dr. Jodi-Anne Mckenley-King, a general practitioner. In addition to their medical specialties, these physicians at the ICCPI are now trained and experienced in using Apollon medical cannabis products in patients.
In anticipation of starting the human clinical trials at the ICCPI, Apollon announced the appointment of Dr. the Honorable Archibald McDonald, Professor Emeritus, and Former University Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, as Director of Clinical Trials.¹² Professor McDonald is a recipient of the prestigious Order of Jamaica (OJ) for Excellence in Academia and Public Service, Jamaica’s highest civilian honour, recipient of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) and Current Chairman, Ministry of Health and Wellness Ethics Panel. Dr. McDonald was recently quoted as stating “If we (Apollon) achieve the same level of success in human clinical trials that was recently demonstrated in the independent, 3rd party pre-clinical studies, these products could greatly help cancer patients in Jamaica and internationally.”
We are pleased to announce that the ICCPI has welcomed the first cancer patients, including our first international cancer patient from the UK in December 2021 to be treated with Apollon’s proprietary medical cannabis products. Only nine months after our IPO and we continue to be astonished and humbled by the level of interest from cancer sufferers globally enquiring about treatment at the ICCPI. This centre allows Apollon to expand the patient treatment programme, generate additional revenue for the Company, and provide the opportunity to gather invaluable patient data on Apollon’s formulations. It is expected that the grand opening of the ICCPI will take place in the coming weeks. It is our goal to bring our medicine to the widest audience possible which will become a core focus as we move into 2022.
Processing Facility and Production Upgrade
Apollon has recently announced the expansion of our CLA-licensed state-of-the-art production facility in Negril, Jamaica.¹³ As a key part of the upgrade, the Company purchased a new high-volume pharmaceutical distiller from the US which has significantly increased Apollon’s medical quality cannabis oil production capability to over 50 times its former production level to a capacity now of nearly 20 litres of distilled medical cannabis oil per day.
This increased production capacity allows the Company to significantly increase its inventory for patients being treated at the ICCPI and the significant number of patients expected to enrol in our upcoming human clinical trials.
The expansion also opens the path to further revenue generation opportunities to the wider domestic market and expansion to international export markets which is included in Apollon’s CLA-licensed approvals.
It is also important for the Company to have a large volume of properly stored inventory for much larger international clinical trials which Apollon anticipates will be in partnership with large international pharmaceutical companies entering the medical cannabis market in the near future.
Retail Therapeutic Dispensary
We are happy to report that our retail therapeutic dispensary is now operating at near pre-COVID levels after a significant slowdown due to the temporary halts and restrictions on travel to Jamaica by the Jamaican government in their efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Upon reopening the borders, the Jamaican government required medical patient facilities to become COVID compliant. I’m very proud of our Jamaican team for achieving COVID Compliance and as a result our dual facilities in Negril and Kingston are now opened to treat both international and Jamaican patients as evidenced by taking our first UK cancer patient in late 2021.
Cannabis License Authority (CLA) License Renewals
We are pleased to announce that our CLA-licenses for Processing and Retail (Therapeutic) were recently renewed for an additional three years until January 2025.¹⁴ Our Research and Development license is current and does not need to be renewed until September 2022. Apollon is one of the very few companies in Jamaica with all three of these vertically integrated CLA approved licenses.
The Apollon Advantage
One of the competitive advantages Apollon has that sets us apart from other medical pharmaceutical cannabis companies is our full spectrum THC cannabis oil licencing regime. We are one of very few medical cannabis companies globally that is a publicly traded company, legally licenced to work with full spectrum high THC cannabis, undertake drug discovery, execute pre-clinical testing, perform human clinical trials, provide immediate direct human availability of these treatments by physician prescription, have an International Cancer and Chronic Pain Institute, and are approved to export our medical cannabis products globally.
It is my sincere belief that global customers, including potential partners like Big Pharma, seeking medical cannabis products and partnerships will look to companies like Apollon, that will have patent protected products, validated by pre-clinical and human clinical trial data rather than companies with random medical cannabis oils without this level of scientific rigor and intellectual property protection.
The ability to undertake drug discovery in conjunction with human application and treatment is the investment framework I believe Apollon offers. This framework allows us to collect clinical data quickly and accurately on our formulations from real-life treatments at our facilities via both in-patient and outpatient care. We expect the number of patients receiving treatment at our facilities in 2022 to grow significantly. We also anticipate a substantial market for global export of our medical cannabis products.
In preparation for global expansion, Apollon made two key executive hires in 2021. The Board appointed Stephen Barnhill, Jr., and Stene Jacobs as joint Chief Operating Officers. Stephen will focus his attentions on Jamaica, the Caribbean, and North America, whilst Stene will focus on Apollon’s operations across Europe and Africa.¹⁵
Stephen was a Co-Founder and President of Apollon Formularies Inc. in the US, established in 2014. He was instrumental in the international expansion of Apollon Formularies to Jamaica in 2015, starting Apollon Formularies Jamaica Ltd and was appointed Chief Operating Officer. Once established in Jamaica, Stephen was instrumental in Apollon obtaining a suite of vertical medical cannabis licenses from the Cannabis License Authority (CLA). These licenses were key to allowing Apollon Formularies Jamaica Ltd. to become a federally legal medical cannabis operation. Stephen was then involved in the expansion of Apollon to Europe and assisted in the transformation to a publicly traded company on the AQSE Growth Market in April 2021.
Stene joined Apollon in December 2020 as Head of Corporate Development where he has helped foster and develop strategic relationships within the medical cannabis arena in Europe and Africa. He has been a core member of the Apollon team in the lead up to, and post-listing on the AQSE Growth Market.
We have also strengthened the Board of Directors by adding Rod McIllree as a Non-Executive Director. Rod has more than 20 years’ experience running, advising, and funding public companies focused on growth in the technology, mining, international logistics and finance sectors. Rod has been a long-time advisor to, and investor in, Apollon and holds a significant interest in the shares of the Company. The Company expects to appoint further high-profile directors to the Board in the coming months to advance its growth ambitions.
The Future Looks Bright
Our leadership can’t help but be proud of what our team accomplished over the past 12 months. Apollon is truly a unique company in the medical cannabis space. We are a publicly traded pharmaceutical company legally allowed to operate in the entire spectrum of cannabinoid medicine from CBD and other non-psychogenic cannabinoids to full-spectrum high THC medical cannabis products required for certain conditions like cancer.
As a cannabinoid medicine company, Apollon is now fully established and currently treating private Jamaican and international patients by physician prescription with our outstanding medical team of licensed physicians who also have additional special expertise in cannabinoid medicine, as well as commencing our efforts to perform human clinical trials at our recently opened International Cancer and Chronic Pain Institute.
We now have a fully operational high-volume processing laboratory with the capacity to produce up to 20 litres of high-quality medical cannabis distillate that can be used for our commercial products, our private patients, our clinical trial patients, global export, and increased inventory for potential Big Pharma partners.
The Company has completed its pre-clinical testing on our unique proprietary medical cannabis formulations for cancer and is about to embark on validating these very successful results in human clinical trials. Once completed, I believe Apollon, will have a significant database of pre-clinical, clinical, and genomic data in cancer patients treated with medical cannabis products and could become a global leader for cannabinoid medicine in oncology.
As an operating business, Apollon has multiple revenue streams including both in-patient and out-patient treatments and consultations, dispensary sales of Apollon products in Jamaica, and most recently through the facility expansion, the opportunity for export of our products globally where legal import is allowed.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity in the first of what I hope will become an annual “CEO Year in Review” to thank our patients, shareholders, employees and advisors for their support and encouragement throughout 2021.
The future of Apollon is bright, and I thank you for joining this journey with us. We wish you and your families a happy and healthy new year!
Stephen D. Barnhill, MD
Chairman and CEO
For additional information, please visit www.apollon.org.uk or contact:
Tel: +44 207 907 9314
Stene Jacobs [email protected]
Peterhouse Capital Limited (Corporate Adviser)
Tel: +44 207 220 9795
Guy Miller [email protected]
Blytheweigh (Financial PR/IR-London)
Tel: +44 207 138 3204
Tim Blythe [email protected]
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SOURCE: Apollon Formularies PLC
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