A Trusted Global Leader in Purified Cannabis Concentrates
Photography Jan Strouhal
Leaders in the cannabis concentrates industry. National and Global Impact
In October 2018, MediPharm Labs became the first publicly traded company to be headquartered in Barrie, Ontario and currently employs more than 170 scientists, researchers, engineers, technicians and professionals who produce pure, safe and precisely-dosed cannabis products for patients and consumers. With more than $20 million having been spent on the build-out of wholly owned facilities and laboratories – for the most part utilizing local suppliers and contractors – the company has made a sizeable impact on the local economy. MediPharm Labs was an early entrant, applying for their cannabis processing licence under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Patients Regulations (ACMPR), in 2016 and receiving Licence #95 on March 29, 2018. The company has become a permanent fixture in the cannabis value chain, providing much-needed expertise and access to extraction, especially for cultivators who do not have in-house capability. The company purchases a significant amount of Canadian-grown cannabis for their white and private label platforms where they make extract from dried cannabis then formulate, process, package and distribute advanced derivative products such as bottled cannabis oil. When Health Canada allows a broader range of cannabis, products, including edibles, beverages, vapeables, topicals and concentrates, MediPharm Labs is ready to supply the active cannabis ingredients needed for these new concentrate-based product types as well as be a significant producer of vape cartridges. While the Canadian cannabis industry was dominated by vertically integrated cultivators, Pat McCutcheon and Keith Strachan identified the segment opportunity for high margin and high growth, and created a very special niche.
Keith Strachan – Director and President
Utilizing his consultancy expertise in pitching public sector contracts and supply chain management, Keith Strachan co-founded MediPharm Labs in 2015. Seeking compliance with government licensing, and planning locally, they were the first to secure a Health Canada License for cannabis oil production, without first being a cultivator. A seasoned entrepreneur, Keith has applied his leadership skills to building out MediPharm Labs leading-edge facilities, launching operations and growing its workforce. As a strategist, he is the driving force behind business development with the company’s supply, contract, processing, partners, and producers.
Pat McCutcheon – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Before founding MediPharm Labs, Pat enjoyed a 15-year career in the pharmaceutical industry in top sales roles, successfully launching a wide range of medical products. He most recently worked at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, (Johnson & Johnson), where he led the Hospital Division for Renal and Mental Health products. Pat brings this pharmaceutical perspective to MediPharm Labs, investing time and energy from the outset in pharma standards such as ISO-built clean rooms, critical environments and building and operating the facility according to European Good Manufacturing Practices. Pat’s foresight in creating a business that focuses on advanced cannabis concentrates bodes well for medical research, investors and consumers alike.
They set a precedent with Health Canada’s application process, being the first to ever apply for a cannabis oil production license without first being a cultivator; Health Canada twice returned their application because the “cultivation box wasn’t ticked.” They persevered and secured support for their licence application from the City of Barrie as well. The onslaught of companies applying for cannabis licences, and going public, leading up to the Legalization Day in Canada, (October 17, 2018), made getting facetime with various regulatory bodies challenging, but this did not deter Pat or Keith. While waiting for the final stages of licensing, they were able to staff the facility, develop internal protocols, modify equipment, form partnerships, amass dried cannabis inventory, and produce extracted resin, in order to be ready when their sales license was received. They strived to maintain their independence, accepting no equity ownership from other licensed producers, assuring their ability to work with everyone in the industry as a trusted, autonomous supplier. Canada is on the forefront of the global cannabis industry having legalized both medical and recreational use, but MediPharm Labs also has its sights on other jurisdictions worldwide that have approved medical cannabis use. MediPharm Labs is actively seeking import/export opportunities while also building their Australian subsidiary. To keep pace with change in the industry, MediPharm Labs has created a culture of innovation. Pat and Keith have invested in a superb team of professionals, many from the bio-pharmaceutical industry. They have also aligned with outside consultants and suppliers to optimize operations, equipment and methodologies. Most recently, the company established a Science Advisory Committee with internationally esteemed scientists, researchers and medical professionals, who will advise and assist in harnessing the potential of cannabis through innovation, best practices, thought leadership and strategic alliances. MediPharm Labs will do their hometown proud as a leader in this exciting new industry. They bear the hallmarks of success: advantage in expertise, beyond the competition, producing quality extracts at scale.
Company culture: good corporate citizens
Internationally – A member of the Global Cannabis Partnership, a select group in the industry who agree to produce cannabis responsibly and to encourage responsible consumption. Sponsorship of the World Cannabis Congress – a conference that includes researchers, government and private sector partners.
Nationally – Partners with Canada’s first post-graduate program in Applied Cannabis Science at Loyalist College – donated $20,000 of product used in applied studies to formulate tinctures and transdermal patches.
Regionally – – They committed $30,000 to the financial support of the “MediPharm Innovation Space” at the SandBox Centre, (a think tank in the Greater Simcoe Region for entrepreneurs/established businesses to participate in knowledge sharing). As speakers, volunteers and members, MediPharm’s management has taken leadership roles in community groups such as Barrie Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Barrie, Xcelerate Summit, The United Way and Georgian College.
International Clinical Trial with Renowned Researcher: In May 2019, it was announced that New York City’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital and renowned global researcher Dr. Yasmin Hurd, had selected MediPharm Labs to partner on a major Clinical Research Study and “CBD International Consortium” to develop treatment of Opioid Addiction.MediPharm Labs would provide CBD gelcaps for more than 500 patients involved in the study with test sites in Canada, the USA, Jamaica, Australia and Europe. This commitment to medical cannabis research dovetailed with MediPharm Labs long term vision of being an active pharmaceutical ingredient provider to makers of cannabis medicines.
Creating value for stakeholders
Assessed by a judging committee, MediPharm Labs was voted 2018 Start-Up of the Year at the Canadian Cannabis Awards by Lift & Co, with a glowing criterion: “This company exemplifies the qualities that define promising start-ups: plucky, innovative and creative. Its top-notch team identifies and solves industry problems and contributes beneficially to the cannabis sector at-large.” Never compromising their vision and determination, Pat and Keith wanted to create a workplace on the forefront of the industry that breeds innovation through the imagination and collaboration of their team and partners. From the outset, Pat and Keith have been steadfast in their commitment to forming an organization known for its integrity by making workplace safety their priority, respecting and being compliant with all regulations, and leading in good business practices in every aspect of their operations. Their pledge to employees was to create a positive workplace, connected through open communication and shared goals, where staff members are provided with the resources to succeed, and their efforts are respected and rewarded. In January 2019, MediPharm Labs introduced a Stock Option Grant Program, rewarding every employee with Company stock options. This provides each owner-employee the opportunity to contribute to and participate in the success of the enterprise.
“MediPharm Labs was selected as our preferred provider to participate in this critical study largely based on its team’s deep experience in pharma and clinical research, and ability to execute and provide safe, effective and precisely doseable, high quality products.”
– Dr. Yasmin Hurd, Mount Sinai Hospital