Auxly to focus on domestic cultivation as Zynerba CONNECT-FX trial misses endpoints
In this week's "Rising High," The Fly's recurring series focused on cannabis stock news, The Fly looks back at a cultivation strategy update, trial results and a price target raise.
AUXLY TO FOCUS ON DOMESTIC CULTIVATION: Auxly Cannabis (CBWTF) provided an update on Monday on the company’s national and international cultivation strategy. The company said, “In order to sharpen the Company's near-term focus on Cannabis 2.0 dominance in Canada, the Company has decided to rationalize its cultivation portfolio by focusing on its domestic cultivation, while maintaining optionality in Uruguay.” Auxly announced that Robinsons Outdoor Grow has secured a standard cultivation license from Health Canada. However, given timing for the optimal outdoor planting season and the operational challenges posed by COVID-19, the company has made the strategic decision to delay the commencement of cultivation activities at the Robinsons OG site and focus its efforts on the continued development of the Robinsons OG land and facility in preparation for the 2021 cultivation season. Inverell is the company's 80%-owned subsidiary located in Montevideo. Due to the slower than anticipated pace of regulatory development in Latin America and the slower development of viable near-term commercial channels in the region, the Auxly has chosen not to proceed with planting for the 2020-2021 growing season nor with the development of extraction capabilities with a view to reducing headcount and keeping operating expenditures to a minimum. This strategy will reduce future operating expenses by approximately $6M-7M annually. Auxly will maintain the optionality Inverell provides and continue to monitor the regulatory landscape in LATAM, while exploring extraction opportunities as well as sales channel opportunities for the current stored biomass into legally permissible jurisdictions.
Auxly also announced Tuesday that subsidiary Dosecann LD has received its Cannabis Research License from Health Canada pursuant to the Cannabis Act. This license permits Dosecann to administer cannabis extracts, edible cannabis and cannabis topicals to human subjects for purposes of palatability and sensory testing at its facility located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
ZYNERBA CONNECT-FX TRIAL MISSES ENDPOINTS: Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) announced Tuesday top line results from the 14-week pivotal Clinical study of Cannabidiol in Children and Adolescents with Fragile X trial on Tuedfsu. The multi-national, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial assessed the efficacy and safety of Zygel CBD gel as a treatment in for behavioral symptoms of Fragile X syndrome in 212 patients. Zygel did not achieve statistical significance versus placebo in the primary endpoint of improvement in the Social Avoidance subscale of the Aberrant Behavior Checklist - Community FXS. Zygel also did not demonstrate statistical significance versus placebo in the three key secondary endpoints, which were the change from baseline to the end of the treatment period in the Irritability subscale score of the ABC-CFXS, the Socially Unresponsive/Lethargic subscale score of the ABC-CFXS and Improvement in Clinical Global Impression. A pre-planned ad hoc analysis of the most severely impacted patients in the trial, as defined by patients having at least 90% methylation of the impacted FMR1 gene, demonstrated that patients receiving Zygel achieved statistical significance in the primary endpoint of improvement at 12 weeks of treatment in the Social Avoidance subscale of the ABC-CFXS compared to placebo.
Following the results, Roth Capital analyst Scott Henry lowered the firm's price target on Zynerba to $8.50 from $11 and kept a Buy rating on the shares. Henry highlights that the data was numerically beneficial but not statistically significant, patients with full methylation of the FMR1 gene did reach statistical significance, and that the company will meet with the FDA to discuss an NDA filing based on this subgroup. Additionally, Needham analyst Serge Belanger downgraded Zynerba to Hold from Buy. Belanger said that his Hold rating reflects the uncertainty regarding the proposed path forward of the program.
GROWGENERATION PRICE TARGET RAISED: Roth Capital analyst Scott Fortune raised the firm's price target on GrowGeneration (GRWG) Wednesday to $9 from $8 and reiterated a Buy rating on the shares. The analyst increased estimates after the company priced an upsized $42M follow-on offering at $5.60 per share. Fortune expects GrowGeneration to use its "new war chest" to restart opening or acquiring new stores and drive growth in the second half of 2020. The investment thesis "remains strong" with continuing execution and scale driving revenue growth and expanding margins, said the analyst, who sees upside to management's 2020 guidance, which doesn’t include new store growth.
NEPTUNE WELLNESS RECEIVES CANNABIS SALES LICENSE: Neptune Wellness (NEPT) announced Monday it has been authorized by Health Canada to sell cannabis products to provinces and territories. This sales license includes edibles, vapes, extracts and topicals, including beverage products. This authorization adds to a previously held processing license and will expand Neptune's cannabis operations to include proprietary branded products. In addition to the sales license, Neptune's cold storage and added operating space have been approved for operation. The enlarged cold storage and approved space in the Sherbooke facility provide greater capacity to process larger volumes of product and store at low temperature to protect product.
IIPR ACQUIRES PROPERTY FOR $7.8M: Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR) announced Wednesday that it closed on the acquisition of a property in Massachusetts, which comprises approximately 118,000 square feet of industrial space in the aggregate. The purchase price for the property was approximately $7.8M. Concurrent with the closing of the purchase, IIP entered into a long-term, triple-net lease agreement for the property with a wholly owned subsidiary of Cresco Labs (CRLBF), which intends to operate the property as a regulated cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing facility upon completion of redevelopment. Cresco is expected to complete additional tenant improvements for the property, for which IIP has agreed to provide reimbursement of up to $210M. Assuming full reimbursement for the tenant improvements, IIP's total investment in the property will be approximately $28.8M.
OTHER CANNABIS STOCKS: Other publicly-traded companies in the space include Akerna (KERN), Aleafia (ALEAF), Aphria (APHA), Aurora Cannabis (ACB), Biome Grow (BIOIF), CannTrust (CTST), Canopy Growth (CGC), Canopy Rivers (CNPOF), Cronos Group (CRON), CV Sciences (CVSI), Delta 9 (VRNDF), DionyMed Brands (DYMEF), Elixinol Global (ELLXF), FluroTech (FLURF), General Cannabis (CANN), Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF), Greenlane (GNLN), Harborside (HSDEF), HEXO (HEXO), Hemp Inc. (HEMP), India Globalization Capital (IGC), Indiva (NDVAF), Indus Holdings (INDXF), ICC International Cannabis (WLDCF), Khiron Life Sciences (KHRNF), Liberty Health Sciences (LHSIF), MediPharm Labs (MEDIF), MedMen (MMNFF), Mjardin (MJARF). Organigram (OGI), Origin House (ORHOF), Planet 13 (PLNHF), Real Brands (RLBD), Sproutly (SRUTF), Sunniva (SNNVF), Supreme Cannabis (SPRWF), Tetra Bio-Pharma (TBPMF), Valens (VLNCF), Tilray (TLRY), Trulieve (TCNNF), Vireo Health (VREOF), Wayland Group (MRRCF), WeedMD (WDDMF), Westleaf (WSLFF), Wildflower Brands (WLDFF), YSS Corp. (YSSCF) and 4Front Ventures (FFNTF).