Ex-Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld Joins Psychedelics Industry

by birtanpublished on September 11, 2020

for the investigating news network i am brian mcgover i'm joined today by big neufeldt director of having life a new psychedelics company that just went public on the canadian securities

Exchange thank you so much for joining us yeah my pleasure brian vake i should note you also had a very big role in the cannabis industry as the former ceo of afria

One of the big canadian lps why don't we start there and tell me what do you think the time you spend in cannabis will show or how does that impact the way that you now enter into the psychedelics

Arena well perhaps go back a step earlier in my career uh 21 years as ceo of jamison vitamins for jamison wellness today and and uh making the move back in early

2014 to become ceo and president of freya uh that jump is very similar to what i'm now involved in from an advisory role and uh board member

Uh with haven and that is health and wellness um i've always been a big big proponent of non-pharmaceutical type of treatments for certain ailments that mother nature can can assist us with so

The the early days of afria where there was just the medical platform before legalization in the recreational world that was our focus and how to move the needle and connect

With patients stay connected with patients um and again medical only and it was a science driver behind it how how do the certain compounds of cbd and

And thc interact in in levels indica sativa and how that morphed into um providing some sort of treatment uh with anecdotal evidence at the time i may add uh to to patients and so yeah that

Evolution was easy from jamison to afria and very similar in terms of uh mental health uh mental wellness um and and that's what the the haven vision is and its journey

Yeah i see vic before you left to freya you mentioned that the role had really taken a toll on you and on a personal level it had been a very taxing uh time with the freya and the

Whole lead-up in the cannabis market i'm wondering how you're going to deal with that now with haven and sort of how do you see your role with this new brand new

Exciting industry of psychedelics oh big difference um in simple words no more heavy lifting for me stress levels sleep deprivation 11 pm phone calls traveling the globe to expand the

Footprint of afria beyond the canadian borders five years that are free at the helm felt like 10 years my gas tank was empty and it was a hell of a journey i'm quite a

Proud of all the accomplishments um myself and my team uh have made out there during that period of time but it was time it um i can't understand how certain cos can stay in that job

Uh given the hectic pace uh speed of lightning as we called it uh at seat euros uh it uh it's very demanding it's all consuming you you put aside all of your other um family type of

Priorities uh because business took over uh and it was all consuming so no that uh that transition to what i thought was gonna be a life of retirement has turned out to be a life of uh

Um i call it angel investing uh advisory roles uh mentoring uh providing strategic advice uh and that's how haven came about an opportunity that again was speaking

To health and wellness whether it is the vision of true research or standardized compounds which is haven labs and then haven retail which is now taking

Some of that science uh evidence based i may add science into the world of nutraceuticals and how certain compounds can be uh interactive and bringing a brand to market one day

I see vic as an investor what has been your evaluation so far of the psychedelics investment arena and sort of how do you see this whole new market coming up well um i'm a bit

Of a novice when it comes to the actual science behind the psychoactivity of certain plant-based fungi-based compounds i'm learning more as i get deeper and deeper involved as a

Board member and advisor role but in in a broader sense the the world of mental health mental wellness expands far beyond just ptsd of of the veterans it it it

It captures a lot of patients that are in need and and they're self-micro dosing today and so when when i stay in that world of again 21 years at jamison that how to improve the quality and life of

Of consumers or canadians um that was part of what the draw was for me to get to haven and accept the role uh that they have offered me it it's something that we really need to

Have a better understanding of the standardization the efficacy the safety uh so researchers both internal and external can take it to the next level and why is that important

Well it's important for the patient micro dosing just like cannabis way back in the early days when it became medically legal what is the right blend of uh thc and cbd what is the indica versus sativa roles

In somebody's life depending uh of what conditions that they're trying to uh treat sleep deprivation etc and so this is exactly what the haven research labs are are walking forward with how to extract

And identify those compounds uh with science evidence-based or at least evidence thinking and bring it forward to the medical community and and and that that that excites me

Yeah of course uh when it comes to the role that haven is hoping to play in the market uh i'm curious about sort of your the way you're looking at it in terms of raising capital

And maintaining that momentum moving forward this industry's the at least the the companies that are looking to develop novel drugs this is a very capital-intensive sector what is sort of the the the benefits

That the company has in your eyes and sort of the ways that that you feel like other investors might uh start to pay attention to haven yeah so the the founders and the earlier investors um

Are very committed to the journey of haven so they uh they've invested uh fair sums of funding to get us to where we are today uh the going public uh starting on this past monday uh

H-a-v-n uh ticker symbol uh has proven that there are other individuals out there that retail mostly that are really excited about this opportunity they see this as 2014 when cannabis became legal

Medically and they didn't jump on board um in the early days uh this will evolve uh but to your question and and this is a a lesson well learned by many ceos in the cannabis space

There has to be a nice balance of capital intensity you can't be too asset heavy you can't be too asset light so we have now taken the approach on the south campus of ubc and building out the facility that

They've served up to us and their researchers uh that's where we're going to invest our early monies um and have been on the same side of of the uh the haven retail

Uh is how do we now build how do we formulate uh compounds that can be interactive uh with efficacy and safety and bring those to market under haven retail so when you look at the

Environment today and the difficulty in raising money for licensed producers in the cannabis space it isn't like during my tenure where we had after going public i think we had seven

Raises uh all up raises i may add but it was a frenzy and it was the the ride of rides and a lot of people wanted to jump on board today in that space as you well know

Brian it's not like that it's um it's the convertibles it's the very expensive debt that they're looking at and and that's not healthy for the balance sheet

So at haven what we've done ourselves is making sure that all of the investors to date and uh any other conditions or privileges that come with the early equity raises um whether they're warrants or options

Uh there is forced conversions that uh will provide us perhaps the next seed monies necessary to build out again the the further build out of the south campus on ubc

Uh to other opportunities i'm add so um i know we're not looking at the next raise uh but we are well well situated from a funding perspective internally for the time being

I see and now vegas the last thing this industry is uh starting to get a lot of hype about the potential entry from bigger players in the pharmaceutical industry you know

Your time in cannabis was uh full of rumors and potential deals and actual deals that took place of big cap players coming in and taking a look uh how are you envisioning that how are you seeing the evolution of

That conversation you mentioned the concept of people not wanting to be left behind this time around with the same way that maybe they didn't invest in cannabis now with psychedelics

Are you seeing that sort of that's how the market will evolve and and do you believe that some bigger cap pharma companies will come in brian excellent question and you're bang on

So again let me start with the cannabis story first and then i'll move into the psycho uh activity of of what haven is is moving forward on so in the early days when it was medical only before wreck yes there were several

Large international um giants in the pharma space that were in dialogue with us um and there was a lot of uh excitement from the consumer side

Of those pharma companies not necessarily the true pharma you know the ones with apis et cetera when it got to the decision making it was very apparent to me that these

Conversations weren't going to go much further when you're talking about something that was plant-based like a cannabis plant that cannot be patented per se um and i say that because we've done a lot

Of research on that over the years um pharma companies want their own protection if they're going to invest the time energy and funding to move the needle on a compound whether it's thc cbd etc cbn cbg

You name it they'll want some guarantees of revenue protection etc and standardization by that i mean they replicate the same api in a lab in a facility time and time again mother

Nature doesn't work that way um you know one orange from one tree today is a different orange tomorrow it's just it's a fact so from a cannabis perspective

Uh and there are a number of pharmaceutical companies that have toyed with this idea but it all came down to is it safe is it efficacious is can it be standardized and can we get

A some sort of patent protection on it so now let's move over to what haven is doing and the whole world of plants and fungi when it talks about some of these novel compounds once properly standardized extracted uh

And how do they integrate with either standalone or commingled with other novel compounds and bring it to market on on the typical food drug mass shelves um i think they're looking at it

But like early days of cannabis it's all in the consumer side it's not on the true pharmacist and i'm not going to mention pharmaceutical names but all the biggies

Have had a chance to to look at this and and i think their evaluation is going to be very similar to what the cannabis story was at the end uh if the consumer products division

Wants it let them run with it but it's not going to be something that we're going to again through an api and get a din number etc this is more inclined to getting an nhp

National health natural health products number and bringing it forward under that that health and wellness as opposed to true um pharmaceutical medicine i see something very interesting to

Follow up for sure uh big thank you so much for your time again today i really appreciate it hey brian my pleasure for the investing news network i'm brian mcgovern don't forget to like and subscribe to our

Youtube channel for way more videos we'll see you next time you

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