Tilray is pioneering the future of medical cannabis research, cultivation, processing and distribution globally and intends to become a leader in the adult-use cannabis market in Canada. Tilray has supplied high-quality cannabis products to tens of thousands of patients in 10 countries spanning five continents through subsidiaries in Australia, Canada and Germany and through agreements with established pharmaceutical distributors, and produces medical cannabis in Canada and Europe. The company is led by a team of visionary entrepreneurs, experienced operators and cannabis industry experts as well as PhD scientists, horticulturists and extraction specialists who apply the latest scientific knowledge and technology to deliver quality-controlled, rigorously tested cannabis products on a large scale.
The company has been an early leader in the development of the global medical cannabis market. It was one of the first companies to be licensed by Health Canada to cultivate and sell medical cannabis in Canada, and also one of the first companies to become a licensed dealer of medical cannabis in Canada. The cannabis industry is rapidly expanding in Canada, with more than 100 other companies that are currently licensed and hundreds more applications for licenses that are being processed by Health Canada. The company expects to have a competitive advantage in the Canadian adult-use market following the implementation of federal legislation that legalized adult-use cannabis in Canada in October 2018.
JUUL Labs was co-founded by two former cigarette smokers, Adam Bowen and James Monsees. They first created a company called Ploom while they were product-design grad students at Stanford University, and later created the Pax vaporizer device for cannabis and loose-leaf tobacco before founding JUUL. The JUUL electronic cigarette was introduced by PAX Labs in June 2015. In July 2017, JUUL was spun out of PAX Labs as an independent company.
JUUL’s mission has been to replace cigarettes as “the smoking alternative” and, with its advertising and marketing, as well as superior product quality, as its major competitive advantages, JUUL now accounts for over 70% of the US e-cigarette market. As the popularity of the JUUL e-cigarette has taken off, the company has grown quickly, from employing 200 people in September 2017 to 400 in May 2018 to 800 by September 2018 and over 1,500 as of 2019. The popularity and growth is epitomized by the December 2018 investment by Altria, acquiring a stake in JUUL at a roughly $38B valuation.
PAX Labs is an award-winning, consumer technology brand that supports responsible, adult use of premium cannabis vaporization technologies and devices. Headquartered in San Francisco, PAX Labs has revolutionized the industry through innovation and product design. The company boasts an exceptional team with hardware and software backgrounds in consumer technology, healthcare, and biotech. PAX Labs has sold over one million PAX devices in the flower vaporizer category and introduced PAX Era, a connected, app-driven pod system for concentrates, in September 2016.
With each consecutive model, Pax continues to innovative. The Pax 2 included the following changes: no moving parts to maintain, smaller and lighter, larger oven, and longer battery life. Pax 2 can be used with loose-leaf tobacco or cannabis. Following this, the Pax 3 was released, featuring compatibility with both extracts and plant matter, new tools and accessories, and a complementary smart phone app.
Twist is a leading and rapidly growing synthetic biology company that has developed a disruptive DNA synthesis platform to industrialize the engineering of biology. The core of its platform is a proprietary technology that pioneers a new method of manufacturing synthetic DNA by “writing” DNA on a silicon chip. It has combined this technology with proprietary software, scalable commercial infrastructure and an e-commerce platform to create an integrated technology platform that enables it to achieve high levels of quality, precision, automation, and manufacturing throughput at a significantly lower cost than its competitors.
The synthetic biology market is growing due to increased access to affordable and innovative tools that combine advanced production technology with modern digital technology and software capabilities, such as Twist’s DNA synthesis platform. The company is leveraging its unique technology to manufacture a broad range of synthetic DNA-based products, including synthetic genes, tools for next generation sample preparation, and antibody libraries for drug discovery and development. Additionally, its platform will enable new value-add opportunities, such as discovery partnerships for biologic drugs, and will enable new applications for synthetic DNA, such as digital data storage, which will drive growth in the market for Twist’s products.
New York-based Applied Therapeutics develops treatments for cardio-metabolic conditions. Its drug, AT-007, is being developed to treat galactosemia, a rare condition diagnosed at birth that affects how the body breaks down galactose, a sugar produced in the body and found in lactose, the sugar present in milk. It's estimated to impact one of every 30,000 to 60,000 newborns. Beyond galactosemia, Applied is also working on two other compounds, including one for diabetic cardiomyopathy, a complication from diabetes that results in a thickening of the heart muscle, and diabetic retinopathy, another diabetes complication that affects the eye.
The hope is to use the drugs to inhibit an enzyme called aldose reductase, responsible for breaking down sugars into chemicals that aren't good for our bodies — in the case of galactosemia, that's a sugar alcohol known as galactitol and in diabetic patients breaking down glucose incorrectly, that ends up being a sugar alcohol known as sorbitol. Aldose reductase has been a validated drug target for more than 25 years. Pharmaceutical companies developed a number of these aldose reductase inhibitors in the 1990s, but the drugs didn't pan out, often because of side effects. But now, using technology licensed in from Columbia University, the hope is to circumvent those side effects. Overall, indications involving aldose reductase activation are linked to hundreds of millions of patients worldwide.