The administrator investigating the collapse of Asterion Australia has cleared the company of any wrongdoing, concluding the business failed for reasons beyond its control.
Asterion, which had plans to build a huge facility in Toowoomba capable of producing 500,000kg of cannabis, called in BRI Ferrier in February after falling into financial strife.
It had debts of A$8 million and was facing legal action from one of its creditors, project design specialist Wiley & Co, which claimed it was $2m out of pocket.
In the latest report to creditors, administrator Ian Currie said he had reached an agreement “for all proceedings to be discontinued”, adding that Asterion had been planning to defend the claim.
Currie said there was no evidence to suggest Asterion has been trading while insolvent and agreed with director Stephen Van Deventer that Wiley’s legal threat was among the reasons the business failed.
“Stephen Van Deventer attributed the company’s failure to the following reasons: lack of financing, Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions, litigation commenced by a creditor, [and] the collapse of [the] cannabis industry impacting cannabis financial markets.
“My investigations indicate [those] factors accurately contributed to the company’s failure.”
He said efforts to transfer Asterion’s medicinal cannabis licence, and associated engineering and design works, had come to nothing.
“After discussions with the Office of Drug Control and a party who was interested in acquiring the company’s business and medicinal cannabis licence, the decision was made to surrender [the] licence,” he said.
Asterion, which had initially planned to go into partnership with ANTG before the Australian firm withdrew from the deal, had cash of $12,540 at the time it called in BRI Ferrier.
Ecofibre has received patent grant notifications for two of five applications filed last year with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and is awaiting formal grant notification on a third.
Patents granted include treatments for ovarian cancer and endometriosis while the third is for the firm’s proprietary system and method for producing hemp extracts.
The two remaining applications – for the treatment of head/neck and endometrial cancer – are under review by the USPTO.
The endometriosis patent includes the therapeutic application of cannabinoids for fibroids and dysmenorrhea (period pain).
Supporting data for the gynecological patent applications was derived from Ecofibre’s ongoing gynaecological disorder research study with the University of Newcastle.
Ecofibre said it will now focus on partnerships to commercialise treatment and management options for gynaecological diseases.
Chief scientific officer and women’s health practitioner Dr Alex Capano added: “Gynaecological cancers account for over 15% of cancers diagnosed in women globally. They are frequently diagnosed in late stages, [are] considerably aggressive, difficult to treat, and often result in metastatic disease.
“The five-year survival rates for certain gynaecological cancers range from 17 to 39%. The need for improved therapeutic options is clear.”
Avecho has started to manufacture almost 300,000 CBD soft-gel capsules for use in its forthcoming insomnia phase III clinical trial.
The capsule is being made by US-based contract manufacturer Procaps Group which develops pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and other medicines in more than 50 countries.
It lists FDA-approved synthetic THC drug, dronabinol, is among its products.
Avecho has enrolled 540 patients in a trial which will require the manufacture of 290,000 capsules. The A$2 million raised in a recent entitlement offer will fund the work.
Efforts to raise a further $9m through placements are underway.
Avecho chief executive Paul Gavin said: “We can’t commence the trial until the investigational product is manufactured so raising sufficient capital to commence these activities now, while we conclude raising capital, was crucial.
“We are delighted that Procaps Group will be joining us on this journey as we prepare for this defining late-stage clinical trial which will be an exciting milestone for our company and the biotechnology industry at large.”
Avecho’s clinical trial is expected to begin in the third quarter, pending the outcome of its placement capital raise.
In addition to making the trial capsules, Procaps will also manufacture three registration batches which will undergo stability studies to define the shelf life of the commercial product.
Epsilon’s share price climbed 25% on Friday after wholly owned subsidiary THC Pharma had its medicinal cannabis licence renewed.
The Office of Drug Control also granted the company increased manufacturing quantities to meet growing customer demand.
Shares hit a high of $0.02c on Friday before falling back slightly. They are currently trading at $0.018c giving the firm a market capitalisation of A$5.14 million.
Creso Pharma has expanded in Asia, with its entire Green Goo animal care range now stocked online through Singapore-based distributor Gotro Global’s partner firm Happy Town Pets.
To further advance its position in Singapore, Creso is developing a direct-to-consumer ecommerce channel with plans to launch later this year.
The company, which has faced questions over its financial position from the ASX, is also boosting its reach in South Korea, where pet food supplier Providence Animal Health Korea will distribute the Green Goo range alongside Creso Pharma Switzerland animal care products.
The move comes after an initial A$217,400 purchase order from Providence for Creso’s anibidiol product, while product registration is underway in South Korea for the Green Goo Animal First Aid range.
Other products are shortlisted for registration in the coming months.
Creso said Asia is a key target market for the firm, with “multiple initiatives” underway to drive further revenue growth.
CEO and managing director William Lay said: “The expanded distribution partnership[s] in Singapore and South Korea provide Creso Pharma with a unique operating platform to drive further sales growth in 2023.”
He added there was “plenty of additional upside through pending product registrations and the recent launch of the Sierra Sage Herbs product line into the Taiwanese animal healthcare market”.
Cann Global has requested another six-week extension to its trading halt as its “proposed acquisition” drags into a ninth month.
It told the ASX it may now be in a position to make an announcement on June 30.
Shares were first suspended on September 23, 2022.