Two ex-Canopy Growth top guns join Creso’s Mernova team
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Special Report: As Creso hires two top guns to lead its Canadian operation, it has also ramped up production and received a $C410,000 order.
Two former Canopy Growth executives have joined Creso Pharma’s (ASX:CPH) senior leadership team at its wholly-owned subsidiary Mernova Medical in Canada.
Jack Yu has been appointed as managing director and Isaac Allen has been appointed vice president. Both are former employees of Canopy Growth, the world’s largest cannabis company by market cap.
The two appointments come at a significant time for Mernova as it continues to work towards securing EU Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification.
Once this certification is obtained, Creso Pharma will be able to begin sales of its high-quality cannabis flower and oil into the established and growing consumer markets in countries such as Germany and Switzerland.
“We are looking forward to Mr Yu and Mr Allen joining the leadership team at Mernova. Both of them bring practical experience from a variety of fields not only limited to the cannabis industry,” Creso Pharma Co-Founder and CEO Dr Miri Halperin Wernli said.
Creso expects Yu and Allen to lead Mernova, a licensed producer in Nova Scotia, Canada, into a new phase of growth
The ASX-listed company says Yu brings expert-level knowledge of cannabis cultivation and production from 25 years of practical experience growing cannabis, including nine years of consulting for licensed Canadian medicinal cannabis growers.
His experience includes working for Canopy Growth as production manager. Yu also held the role of interim cultivation manager for Canopy’s Newfoundland, Edmonton, Eastern Canada and Scarborough facilities, and previously held the position of Master Grower for MedReleaf, which is now owned by Aurora Cannabis.
He has also consulted for Health Canada licence applicants throughout the process to attain licences for cultivation, production and sales of medicinal cannabis in Canada.
Yu will replace outgoing managing director Bill Fleming. He will be responsible for managing all operations at Mernova and work closely with the Creso Pharma board.
“I am excited to be taking Mernova forward as it scales up production this year,” Yu said.
“I believe my knowledge of cannabis cultivation and production, as well as my experience in working with Health Canada will prove a real asset to Mernova as it looks to secure the certification that will allow it to commence sales in Europe.”
Creso says Allen has significant expertise in optimising business operations from executive positions in industries spanning cannabis, insurance, technology and entertainment.
He was formerly national operations process improvement manager at Canopy, where he developed and executed a number of business strategies and efficiency initiatives.
He is also the founder and former CEO of a disruptive insurance technology start-up and has held senior executive positions at various companies.
“Mernova is emerging to be a promising supplier of premium quality flower and oil to customers across the globe, and a compelling opportunity for investors looking to gain exposure to a first-class cannabis production facility,” Allen said.
“I am confident that I will be able to help Mernova further optimise its business operations as it moves closer to obtaining its EU GMP certification.”
Yu and Allen will receive a cumulative 2.7 million options as part of their remuneration. The options are to be issued under Creso Pharma’s employee option plan that was approved by shareholders in October 2018.
Bill Fleming has completed his contractual objectives for Mernova and will leave the company on June 1, 2020.
Fleming founded Mernova and was one of the vendors of the company to Creso Pharma in 2017.
Since then, Fleming has led the transition of the company from obtaining a construction licence to completion of the construction of Mernova’s state-of-the-art 25,000sqft cultivation facility and the subsequent sale of its initial crops to licensed producers in Canada.
In the process, Fleming achieved milestone 1 (a cultivation licence) and milestone 2 (a processing licence), which were conditions of the acquisition agreement with Creso Pharma.
Fleming is presently completing the orderly transition of the management of Mernova to Yu and the senior leadership team.
In the meantime, Mernova is continuing to ramp up production and sales in North America, with its latest sales deal (worth approximately $C410,000 in revenue) closing last week.
The sale comprised varying quantities of the four strains of Mernova’s high-quality cannabis flowers. The full purchase amount has been received from the buyer.
For context, Mernova’s full 2019-year revenues amounted to about $860,000.
The facility is scaling up to full production capacity, which Creso Pharma expects will be reached this year.