Asterion Cannabis Chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer says that the government’s support for the company’s project has enabled a fast approval process.

Asterion Cannabis Chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer says the special project status granted by the Australian government has allowed the company to fast-track its move into the Australian medical cannabis market.

In November 2019, Asterion received its development application approval for 4.3 million square feet of greenhouse cultivation space in Toowoomba, Australia. Van Deventer says that the speedy application process has been possible for the company in part thanks to the major project status, which has been granted to the company by the Australian government. Major project status means that Asterion’s development has been deemed to be of national importance to the people of Australia.

Asterion is the only agricultural cannabis producer to have been granted major project status. Van Deventer says that the Australian government’s support for Asterion’s project is due to the company’s development of pharmaceutical medical cannabis treatments, giving Australian patients a valuable alternative to smoking cannabis.

Below is a transcript of our interview with Asterion Cannabis Chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Investing News Network: Please provide our investor audience with an overview of Asterion and its upcoming initial public offering (IPO).

Asterion Cannabis Chairman and CEO Stephen Van Deventer: Asterion is targeting to IPO in quarter one of 2020. However, market conditions pending, because we don’t want to IPO into a weak market.

INN: Please give us an overview of Asterion’s recent business operations.

SVD: With Asterion in Australia, we’ve been fortunate to have finished all of our engineering for our facility. It’s going to be 4.3 million square feet in four different greenhouse modules, almost 1.1 million square feet each. That’s the cultivation. Then there’s going to be another 1.2 million square feet of administration and auxiliary buildings for extractions and processing, packaging, etc. So, it’s a total of 5.5 million square feet. We launched the application with the Toowoomba Regional Council and in early November we received our development application approval. That means that the property that we have and what we are going to build has all been approved so we can develop what we said we’re going to develop.

On top of that, we’ve recently filed our Operational Works permit, which means that we can start digging into the earth and laying all the water pipelines and all the infrastructure for power, etc. We’ve been told to expect that we should have an operational work permit by mid-December.

As for our cannabis licenses, we’ve applied for the whole suite of them. We have cultivation, sales, research and development, import and export and extraction processing. We’ve completed all the questions and answers, they were completed two weeks ago. We were told there are no more questions and our cannabis licenses will be imminent. We expect to have our cannabis licenses any day. Once we have those, we’ll start working to begin purchasing cannabis from other licensed producers (LPs) to import into Australia to start servicing the Australian market, so we can start building our medical patient base while we’re under construction. By the time we come online, we’ll have a solid patient base to be able to deliver the product to.

What has helped us fast track getting this all done has been getting major project status. In Australia, only 14 other companies have major project status. We’re the 15th. We’re the only agricultural cannabis company ever to receive major project status. That means that it is of national importance to the country to get this project done. It eliminates all red tape and gets us the full support of the government in every agency. From here, we’re potentially looking to break ground around middle-to-late January of 2020.

INN: Please explain the significance of the development approval permit and what this means for Asterion moving forward.

SVD: Well, the development is key because when you apply for a development permit, there are multiple different ways to get these permits. You have to supply all the engineering, showing the heights of the building, what the buildings are going to look like, the footprint, etc., so, when you talk about 5.5 million square feet you’re not just sending them a generic plan. It’s a very detailed plan, we spent millions of dollars on engineering to get it done.

Because of our relationships with government and businessmen in Australia, especially John Wagner, the chairman of the Wagner Group, we were able to get this application as a core application rather than as a public consultation. A public consultation would have taken up to two years. We will manage to fast-track the process to six months because we did a core application. This eliminates us having to go to public hearings.

INN: Why did Asterion decide to acquire Sol-Gel and its intellectual property?

SVD: Asterion acquired 51 percent of Sol-Gel. The Australian government really likes the Sol-Gel because they would rather see patients take cannabis medicine in pill form, as a gel cap, transdermal or a nasal spray or sublingual tablet rather than smoking cannabis. With Asterion taking the major position of 51 percent ownership, now we can use the major project status to help accelerate that through the process for approvals.

INN: How has Canopy’s divestment from the Australian cannabis market altered the industry landscape?

SVD: It hasn’t altered it at all, actually. Australia is a huge market. There’s a lot of untapped need for product. And Canopy’s divestment wasn’t because of the landscape. Canopy’s divestment was the result of some major losses of hundreds of millions that they’ve taken each quarter. They’re going to start focusing on the operations that they actually have up and running now and get them profitable because they cannot continue to divest money like that.

INN: Which international markets are Asterion targeting and why those markets in particular?

SVD: So, we’re targeting the Australian market primarily in the beginning. Then, we’re looking through the whole Asia gateway from Australia, because the relationship between Australia and the Asia gateway is very important.

We’ve seen the Asian countries start to open up to cannabis. Thailand, which we never thought would ever allow medical cannabis or cannabis period, has allowed it. Asian markets are opening up fast, so for us, it’s good to have a gateway to the Asian countries.

However, we’re also targeting the European countries because of the premiums over there. I’m currently in negotiations with a major European country, one with around 45 to 50 million people in population, to get a joint venture potentially put together where we would distribute our products in that country for the medical cannabis market there.


Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by Asterion Cannabis. This interview provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Asterion Cannabis in order to help investors learn more about the company. Asterion Cannabis is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Asterion Cannabis and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.

Australia Mining Update: H1 2021 in Review

Click here to read the previous Australia mining update.

After an uncertain 2020 for the Australian mining industry, the resource market showed signs of a sharp recovery in the first six months of the new year.

Keep reading... Show less

Medlab Clinical Ltd Executes Master Services Agreement with WEP Clinical Ltd

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Medlab Clinical Ltd (ASX.MDC), an Australian biotech using delivery platforms to enhance medicines is pleased to announce the execution of a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with WEP Clinical Ltd (WEP) for the exclusive development and delivery of Named Patient Programmes relating to the unlicensed supply of its proprietary NanaBis(TM) and NanoCBD(TM) to patients in the UK and Europe.

This Master Services Agreement is the first partnership for Medlab to supply their cannabinoid medications outside of its current Australian Special Access Scheme.

Dr Sean Hall, CEO of Medlab stated, “This is a major milestone for Medlab to begin supplying NanaBis(TM) and NanoCBD(TM) on prescription for the first time to patients outside Australia.”

Keep reading... Show less

Investing in Lithium in Australia

After the country became the world’s largest lithium producer in 2018, many market participants are wondering if investing in lithium in Australia is a good option

Without a doubt, the energy revolution is here to stay, with forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) sales increasing every day. As a result, demand for lithium, a key element in the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars, is expected to triple by 2025 — reaching about 1 million tonnes in size.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Buy Bitcoin in Australia

Investors looking for decentralised assets (and potentially major gains) in a post-COVID-19 Australia are turning in droves to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin in particular is getting Aussies excited after its price hit record highs in March 2021, and again the next month. As a finite resource, its volatility is proving exciting for many market watchers.

For those interested in jumping into the space, the Investing News Network has put together a step-by-step guide on how to start buying bitcoin in Australia — and how to stay safe while doing so.

Keep reading... Show less

Nickel Stocks in Western Australia

Nickel gets a lot of love these days. Besides its applications as a base metal, it's discovering a rising popularity as an electric vehicle metal thanks to its role in battery technology.

Nickel is a vital component in lithium-ion batteries, which are seeing "hockey stick"-like production rates around the world as electric vehicles become more prevalent.

According to the Australian government, the country holds around 19.7 million tonnes in economic demonstrated reserves of the metal, making it a top nation for nickel reserves, as well as a top nation for nickel production with 180,000 tonnes produced in 2019.

Keep reading... Show less

Medlab Clinical Ltd Executes Master Services Agreement with WEP Clinical Ltd

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Medlab Clinical Ltd (ASX.MDC), an Australian biotech using delivery platforms to enhance medicines is pleased to announce the execution of a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with WEP Clinical Ltd (WEP) for the exclusive development and delivery of Named Patient Programmes relating to the unlicensed supply of its proprietary NanaBis(TM) and NanoCBD(TM) to patients in the UK and Europe.

This Master Services Agreement is the first partnership for Medlab to supply their cannabinoid medications outside of its current Australian Special Access Scheme.

Dr Sean Hall, CEO of Medlab stated, “This is a major milestone for Medlab to begin supplying NanaBis(TM) and NanoCBD(TM) on prescription for the first time to patients outside Australia.”

Keep reading... Show less

When Will Australia Legalise Recreational Cannabis?

Recreational cannabis remains illegal in all Australia’s states and territories with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). But could that change in the future?

So far there are no clear indicators as to when or if Australia could legalise recreational cannabis, but attitudes seem to be changing. Public support is growing, and there’s even some political acceptance.

Read on to learn more about when Australia may legalise recreational cannabis.

Keep reading... Show less

A State-by-State Guide to Cannabis in Australia

Australia made waves when it federally legalised medicinal cannabis in 2016, and its marijuana market has experienced significant growth since then.

A study from FreshLeaf Analytics pegs Australian medical market sales at AU$95 million in 2020, while research firm Prohibition Partners indicates that Oceania’s cannabis industry is expected to be worth US$1.55 billion by 2024; medicinal cannabis is expected to account for 40 percent of the industry.

Despite that growth, the country’s cannabis industry is still young. Recreational use is not yet in sight, and even medical access remains limited and highly regulated.

Keep reading... Show less

Australian Cannabis: Forecasts, Analysis and Expert Advice

Are you ready to start investing in Australia’s growing cannabis market?

Dive right in with our FREE Special Report, Australian Cannabis: Forecasts, Analysis and Expert Advice

Keep reading... Show less

Cannabis in the ACT: The Market a Year Post-Legalisation

It’s been just over a year since recreational cannabis was legalised in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), home to the nation’s capital city of Canberra.

Announced on September 25, 2019, and brought into effect on January 31, 2020, the rules make it legal to possess and personally use small amounts of cannabis.

Keep reading... Show less

Top News

Related News