The global boss of Zelira Therapeutics has said the company remains well placed for continued growth as he spoke of its “multiple shots on goal” as a player in the biopharmaceutical sector.

Dr Oludare Odumosu, Zelira’s US-based chief executive, said it was delivering on its strategy, generating revenue and on a path to profitability that will drive value for shareholders.

Dr Oludare Odumosu: “We are not a pot company, we are a biopharmaceutical company.”

Two years ago, Zelira – then called Zelda – was a pure research and development company with “no products, and no prospect of products or revenue”, Odumosu said.

Speaking to Cannabiz from Philadelphia, he said the company’s merger in late 2019 with Ilera Therapeutics – of which Odumosu was chief operating officer – transformed the business into the commercial entity it is today.

“We came in, we merged, and we took it to the next level,” Odumosu said in a bullish assessment of its progress since Zelda rebranded as Zelira. “We have become a product development and commercial machine, and we have done that very successfully.”

The comments were made before Zelira’s deal with Health House International was called off, with both companies citing “substantial changes in market conditions” for the failure to proceed. But Odumoso insisted the Health House transaction was not a make-or-break deal. Zelira, he said, would remain in a “powerful position” should it fall through.

“I’ve always said that if it doesn’t proceed it’s not the end of the world,” he told Cannabiz.

At the core of Zelira’s strategy is the manufacture and distribution of Hope and Zenivol, medications targeting autism and insomnia respectively. It also has a pipeline of CBD products in the oral care sector – a toothpaste is already on sale in the US and UK – while a range of dermatology products is also generating revenue, albeit at modest volumes.

Additionally, licensing agreements for its proprietary technology offering, EDCDM, and partnerships with clinical trails, including one with Levin Health, are delivering cash.

“We’ve always said that Zelira operates a multiple shots on goal platform,” Odumosu explained. “We are not a CBD company. We are not a THC company. We are not a skincare company. We are a research and development biopharmaceutical company that has multiple value propositions.”

“We’re not a pot company… where it’s a race to the bottom on price. We are a biopharmaceutical company that has multiple value propositions.”

Dr oludare odumosu, zelira ceo

Nevertheless, frustrations remain. Along with many listed firms in the sector, Zelira has lost much of its value recently, with its share price tumbling an alarming 99% over the past six months to give it a current market capitalisation of just $9.57 million.

Odumosu claimed Zelira’s association with the “pot sector” had impacted  its valuation.

He said: “Our primary value proposition is building pharmaceutical companies and making them very, very valuable, creating intellectual properties within those vehicles and driving them to commercial success.

“I say that to absolutely define Zelira’s position in the cannabis space. We are not a pot company playing in the direct space where it’s a race to the bottom on price. We don’t grow, we don’t process. We are a pharmaceutical company, a research and development company with the capacity to commercialise cannabinoid-based medicines.

“But we are subject to the ups an downs of what is happening in the cannabis space and that is completely out of our control. It is unfortunate and frustrating that we fit into that sector. But from the perspective of a biopharmaceutical company, if you look at Zelira, we are on the right trajectory to become a valuable biopharma company. But we are being dragged down by the pot sector.”

Despite the falling market cap, Odumosu said shareholders have consistently backed the company. Three of its most recent capital raises have all been oversubscribed, he said.

“We stick to the facts. When we’ve spoken to investors we’ve been very clear and we’ve been able to drive home the value proposition of the company. Hence we’ve not had an issue raising money.

“We’re a company with very strong fundamentals.”

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...