viewAsterion Cannabis Inc

Asterion Cannabis wants to be the largest, ultra-low cost medicinal cannabis producer with geographical diversity in the world


Privately-owned firm is looking to construct the world's largest purpose-built greenhouse cannabis production facility in Queensland, Australia

Australian flag, cannabis plant
  • Privately-owned medicinal-cannabis producer with operations in Australia
  • Focused on producing the highest quality of genetically uniform cannabis strains
  • Constructing the world's largest purpose-built greenhouse cannabis production facility

What Asterion Cannabis does:

Asterion Cannabis Inc. is currently a privately-owned medicinal-cannabis producer with operations in Australia, specializing in medical cannabis and focused on producing the highest quality of genetically uniform cannabis strains, at an affordable price.

The Vancouver-based company is led by a team of highly experienced executives with over 120 years of combined experience in medical cannabis, renewable energy, capital markets, and other highly relevant sectors across North America, Oceania, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer, for example, spearheaded the financing and reverse takeover of Aurora Cannabis, after helping to create its structure and provide strategic direction.

Asterion is in the process of rolling out an ambitious project in southeast Queensland, to construct the world's largest purpose-built greenhouse cannabis production facility.

The facility will cover a 4.3 million sq/ft site with an aim to ultimately have an annual capacity in excess of 500,000 kilograms.

The facility is expected to be developed in three stages: the first two stages each consist of a 10-hectare (25 acre) greenhouse facility and the final stage of two 10-hectare (25 acre) greenhouse facilities, with each stage including ancillary buildings.

Once the initial phase is completed the Queensland facility will start producing 125,000 kilograms of medicinal cannabis a year.

The company will then focus on building the next phase of the facility, which will add another 125,000 kilograms to annual production. With the third and last phase being completed another 250,000 kilograms will be added bringing annual cannabis production capacity to 500,000 kilograms.

Away from Australia, Asterion and PreveCeutical Medical Inc. (CSE:PREV) (OTCMKTS:PRVCF) inked a deal in September 2018 to form a joint venture to develop a range of medicinal cannabinoid products, including sublingual tablets, transdermal patches, and other jointly evaluated products aimed at treating various ailments, such as chronic pain, inflammation, epilepsy and anxiety disorders.

Any cash requirements by the joint venture will be funded 100% by Asterion, at cost, while the company will also be contributing its management's industry knowledge and contacts, while PreveCeutical will be providing access to its research team and the resources at their disposal.

The agreement had an initial term of two years, renewable by the parties for an additional two year term, and PreveCeutical will receive 20% of the net revenue earned or proceeds received by the joint venture from the sale of the intellectual property and products developed.

How is it doing:

At the start of February, Asterion’s wholly-owned Australian subsidiary filed an application with the Australian Government Office of Drug Control to obtain licences for the cultivation, production and research of medicinal cannabis.

A month later, Asterion Australia entered into a collaborative research contract with the University of Queensland for an eighteen month, ‘proof-of-concept’ research program with its Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation unit.

The aim of the program is to expedite clonal propagation of elite selections of cannabis plants to enable high volume, uniform plant cultivation to serve the rapidly growing demand for cannabis-based medicines for a wide variety of ailments.

In April, the company confirmed the acquisition of up to approximately 90 hectares (222 acres) of farmland in South East Queensland, near the regional hub of Toowoomba, in close proximity to the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.

The Wellcamp airport is Queensland’s only dedicated 747-F international freighter service and has Department of Agriculture, Export Registered Premises licenced to provide perishable handling, packing and loading capabilities under the Meat, Dairy, Fish Eggs and Horticulture export programmes, plus Department of Agriculture Quarantine Approved Premises permits for import cargoes.

Trade routes for Wellcamp currently connect internationally to Hong Kong with further route expansion planned into China and the Middle East.

Project deals

In June, Asterion signed  an equity participation agreement with Wellcamp Business Park, an affiliate of Wagners Holding Group (ASX:WGN) granting the option to settle a portion of certain invoices in connection with goods and services to be provided with respect to the construction and development of the Toowoomba Medicinal Cannabis Project in Asterion common shares.

The company pointed out that Wagners had a significant role in assisting in securing the appropriate piece of land in Toowoomba on which to construct and house its cutting-edge, secure, purpose-built medicinal cannabis greenhouses.

The Toowoomba Medicinal Cannabis Project was awarded Major Project Status by the Australian Federal Government in April. The status requirements had included an estimated investment of A$$50 million or more, strategic significance to Australia and certain Australian government approvals. 

The Australian Federal Government then announced in August that from September it will prioritize giving medical cannabis licenses to those that have been granted major project status, a move welcomed by Asterion.

Away from Australia, at the start of August, Asterion entered into an option agreement with PreveCeutical Medical to purchase up to 51% of the right, title and interest in certain intellectual property rights relating to a soluble gel nasal delivery system (Sol-Gel) for the nose-to-brain delivery of therapeutic formulations, including cannabis and cannabinoids.

To exercise the option, Asterion will be required to make a series of cash payments until December 22, 2019, to PreveCeutical totalling $2,652,000.

Asterion’s chairman and CEO, Stephen Van Deventer, Asterion’s said the agreement provides the company with the option “to acquire intellectual property that compliments its current business.”

Financing and management

On the financing front, in May 2019, Asterion - which is eyeing a listing in the United States, Canada and Australia in 2020 - raised C$25 million via a non-brokered private placement of up to 20,000,000 units at the price of C$$1.25 per unit.

Each unit consisted of one common share in the company and one common share purchase warrant entitling the holder to purchase one additional share at a price of C$$1.75 for a period of 24 months from the closing of the financing,

At the start of the year, the firm had raised C$5 million also via a non-brokered private placement of up to 6,666,667 units at a price of C$0.75 each on the same basis, with the exercise price for the warrants then set at a price of C$1.00 each, also for a period of 24 months from the closing of the financing.

On the management side, at the end of May John Wagner, a non-executive director and co-founder of Wagners Holding was named as a strategic advisor to Asterion Australia’s board and Asterion’s chief executive officer.

On August 26, Asterion also announced the appointment of Peter Ryan as its new Director of Development (Australia). Ryan, an executive engineer and business leader with a track record of delivering strong operational results in organizations operating within the infrastructure and construction industry, has worked in Australia, South East Asia and the South Pacific.

Inflection points:

  • Date for stock market listings in 2020
  • Further progress on construction of Toowoomba Medicinal Cannabis Project
  • More news on products from PreveCeutical Medical joint venture

What the boss says:

Asterion Cannabis chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer told Proactive in an interview at the start of 2019: “We want to be the largest, ultra-low cost medicinal cannabis producer in the world with geographical diversity.”

He added: “Canada has too many licensed producers already. To try and get into the market now, you are going to be fighting the big guys.

“Other cannabis growers have been looking at South America. I don’t like South America because I’ve seen many companies go spend money building a mine and then the government takes it away. It’s not stable enough for me. Europe is a great market, but it’s too fragmented right now. I like that Australia is like Canada in its laws and regulations.”

Contact the author at [email protected]

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