Earlier this year, CB2 Insights Inc. (CBII: CSE) (CBIIF: OTCQB) commenced trading on the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE) and this is an opportunity that we are watching. The company has been highly focused on the cannabis clinic opportunity and has been flying under the radar. Today, we are lucky to have CB2 Insights’ Chief Executive Officer, Prad Sekar with us and look forward to learning more about this differentiated opportunity.
- CB2 has a unique opportunity to create something very valuable for investors. We believe that the market does not fully understand or appreciate this opportunity. Can you discuss what CB2 is focused on and what it plans to capitalize on?
CB2 is a Life Sciences technology company, specializing in Real-World Evidence related to medical cannabis. For many years now, there has been overwhelming attention around the prospect of medical cannabis being adopted as a verifiable treatment option for patients suffering from a variety of conditions.
The challenge has been that cannabis as a medicine entered the market without the standard data and protocols that traditional pharmaceuticals require for proper adoption by doctors and other Life Sciences stakeholders – who really are the gatekeepers to the future of cannabis-based treatments.
Because we are focused on the medical cannabis space, comparatives often come by way of other cannabis companies. But for comparisons that are more in line with who are is to look to other RWE companies in the Life Sciences sector. For example, Flatiron Health and their work in oncology or Health Catalyst. What we are building at CB2 Insights is very similar to those companies.
This type of business model is quite common in the larger healthcare market, but we certainly are a first-mover in the medical cannabis space, so we recognize the challenges some retail investors have had in appreciating our full value.
- What are some of the near-term and long-term revenue drivers for CB2 and can you discuss how the company will be able to execute on this?
We operate our business through 3 main pillars. The first being our Clinical Operations – and this is where we see the majority of our revenue being derived at the moment. We currently own and operate the largest multi-state clinic network focused on cannabinoid therapy, evaluating approximately 85,000 patients each year.
We earn revenue through those operations direct from patients who come to us for evaluation and education when looking to integrate cannabis into their treatment plans. We have seen strong organic growth in those operations over the past year and will look to expedite that through an aggressive M&A strategy. We have already acquired two new clinic groups, Relaxed Clarity and MedEval earlier in the year and will continue to consolidate US clinic groups – both for the revenue it brings to the organization and also the data that we can mine from each of them.
The next pillar is our Technology division that has developed several solutions – one which is used to manage our clinics and one that extends our data collection beyond the clinic further downstream. Our loyalty and consumer engagement platform, TokeIn, is used by cannabis retailers to interact with their customers, but it also allows us to monitor the purchase behavior of patients when buying their medicine. This is an important step for us in closing the data loop.
Our third pillar is our Data Insights business. This really is the outcome of the previous two pillars – and what we strongly believe will be the ultimate value we bring to the medical cannabis, but perhaps more importantly, the traditional healthcare industries. We have designed our organization to collect structured, critical Real-World Data focused on medical cannabis therapy that aligns with traditional healthcare protocols. Within this part of the business, we work to provide analytics tools back into the industry that brings a greater understanding to the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis. Interested stakeholders go well beyond traditional cannabis players like licensed producers or dispensary groups. We now see regulatory bodies, pharmaceutical companies, insurers and the like all actively looking to acquire this type of data to make critical decisions on the evolution of cannabis as a medicine.
- One of the most exciting aspects of the CB2 story is related to the amount of valuable medical cannabis data that is generated. Can you explain the importance of this data and how it can be monetized?
Clinical trial data is what most of us hear about and what healthcare has often relied upon to make decisions. But late last year, the FDA released its framework on integrating Real-World Data and Real-World Evidence into the fold in a very formalized way. You can think of those as any data derived outside of a traditional clinical trial. We are in the midst of an era that has countless data points related to everything we do, so the FDA is now working to integrate other sources of healthcare data into the process of drug development and ultimately drug approvals.
Real-World Data and Evidence can be extracted from electronic health record systems, insurance claims or patient-reported data. From a medical cannabis perspective, we bring to the table comprehensive data sets from tens of thousands of patients that are managed directly from clinical staff and speak to a patient’s indications, symptoms, traditional treatment and dosage, previous cannabis experience, potential signs of drug abuse, really a wealth of data points that we then monitor throughout the months and years following the initial evaluation. We are then able to provide a level of data that can speak to changes in other medication, reduction in symptoms, a look at what strain types or cannabinoid profiles had the largest impact. This is all data that is necessary as pharmaceutical companies look to create new cannabis-based medication or regulatory bodies look to create new frameworks for now cannabis should be
I don’t want to speculate on the specific commercialization of that data at this point, but there are certainly comparisons in the market of the value that traditional healthcare companies put on this type of data. We are working towards some announcements in the coming quarters that will work to qualify that further.
- When it comes to CB2, there seems to be several major catalysts for growth. Can you discuss the potential growth drivers for the business?
Our near-term growth driver is our Clinical division. Like I said before, there is solid organic growth happening within that division and it is a strong margin business that is running at a profit. As we move to integrate more clinics through acquisitions, we will work to add to our financial metrics both on the top and bottom lines.
The longer-term catalyst for us will be engagement with broader healthcare stakeholders for the use of our data. I don’t want to get ahead of any announcements, so I’ll hold tight on that at the moment, but it certainly will be a major inflection point in the company, and we start to work with those partners.
- In March, CB2 Insights reported to have started to integrate with Premier Health Group (CSE:PHGI), a leading Electronic Medical Records platform. Can you please tell our readers about the significance of this relationship for CB2?
Sure. One of the tools that we have built through the collection of our data is our Clinical Decision Support tool. This is an application that mirrors traditional bedside apps used by primary care physicians and specialists in a wide array of medical disciplines. Our CDS tool allows a physician in a matter of minutes to input specific parameters on a patient and be guided through the risks and benefits of cannabinoid therapy for that patient and walk them through how to properly dose or select a product that is right for the patient.
Integrating that application into a system like Premier Health Group’s EMR, it gives access for nearly 5,000 primary care physicians to a tool to better assess the validity of cannabis as a treatment option for their patient – essentially bringing the data that they need right to them to gives them added comfort and confidence at the point of care.
The significance of that for us is not only the ability to commercialize these types of applications, but more so it expands our data collection into primary care. Investors will see that expanding our data collection, in a meaningful way, is at the core of every decision we make.
- How will the company leverage Dr. Randy Goebel’s world-renowned expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence to innovate the CB2 platform?
Dr. Goebel is synonymous with Artificial Intelligence and advancing data systems around the world. Dr. Goebel was a catalyst for bringing Google’s DeepMind research center into Canada and certainly knows how to maximize the impact of a data insights system for a breadth of stakeholders.
He’s working with our product teams to advance our Real-World Data platform and his impact is immeasurable. We’re a young company, and for someone of his prominence to have seen us and wanted to be involved in what we are doing is humbling and will be integral to our growth in this area of the business.
- During the last few months, CB2 has expanded its reach and this is a trend that is very exciting. When it comes to targeting specific state markets, can you discuss some of the factors you look for?
It’s an interesting question. People often assume that brand new, medical-only markets would be the focus. And they are. But we have seen with states like Colorado, which has a very mature recreational market, there is still solid growth in patient numbers quarter on quarter.
What we look for is a solid medical market, with a strong patient population, and where there is a known need for better education and support to both patients and clinicians. That goes for US states, but it extends internationally as well.
Our Clinical Operations are focused on comprehensive evaluation and education services. Some markets are built for quick patient turnaround, no data collection, no real relationship between the physician and the patient. That’s not our approach to business. That is pure short-term thinking and not what we are about. Thankfully, the volume of patients seeking a high level of service and care is very, very, large.
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