Internal Newsletter

Study proves effectiveness of Bedrocan’s products

A recent study demonstrates that Bedrocan products with a high THC content are effective in dealing with pain in fibromyalgia. However, cannabis with just CBD did not provide any relief at all. The study was carried out by the Dutch Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) in cooperation with Bedrocan.

The results are promising and Professor Albert Dahan, head of the scientific Anaesthesia Research Unit of the LUMC, believes this is the first real scientific proof that two of Bedrocan’s products are effective for fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia patients experience chronic pain accompanied by sleep disorders, allergies and intestinal complaints. A total of 20 patients participated in the study. They were administered three different cannabis products by means of a vaporizer – Bedrocan®, Bediol®, Bedrolite® and placebo cannabis without cannabinoids, the effective substances of cannabis. With the Bedrocan and Bediol products, patients experienced significantly less pressure pain compared to the placebo. Furthermore, many respondents noted they experienced relief in their spontaneous pain after using Bediol.

The first results were so positive that a follow-up study is under consideration. It is the first time a placebo-controlled study into the medicinal effect of Bedrocan products was completed.

German tender through to the next phase

Bedrocan still has the ambition to set up a cultivation site in Bunde, Germany. If all goes to plan, Bedrocan will submit the bid for the modified tender on December 11th, 2018. Early 2019, the German government is expected to choose the companies they will allow to cultivate medicinal cannabis in Germany. At least three parties are expected to be selected and collectively they will produce 10,400 kilos of medicinal cannabis over a period of four years.

The previous German tender was cancelled earlier this year by order of the court and then reissued and several times postponed. Bedrocan used this time to review and adjust the German expansion plans in line with the new specifications. Bedrocan employee Alannah Taylor worked quietly on the new plan that will be submitted to BfArM, the German Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices that issues the cultivation licenses.

What have you been doing the last couple of months?

The last couple months, I have spent my time coming to grips with the changes in the tender requirements and on implementing those changes in the bid book.

What type of documents will you file?

The bid book consists of everything from offer forms to apply for the various lots, financial accounts, historical order data, proof of our entry in a commercial register. But the real “meat” of the submission is a collection of ten concepts that deal in depth with every aspect of our company – from cultivation practices to security measures to prevent unauthorised use of cannabis and everything in between. These concepts have to capture Bedrocan’s mission and vision, and they must correspond to GMP guidelines and to various German laws, such as the German narcotics drug law.

What is the expansion plan about?

In short, the plan demonstrates how Bedrocan could establish itself in Germany. It ensures timely and consistent deliveries to BfArM. It also guarantees ultimate product quality in accordance with relevant laws, GACP/GMP guidelines and other regulations. It provides proof to support our claims – we present historical yield data, historical order information from the OMC (Office for Medicinal Cannabis), batch-to-batch consistency in terms of THC/CBD concentrations, etc. So, the bid book proposes how we want to enter Germany and provides the evidence to support our capabilities of doing so.

Who is competing with us in the tender process?

I cannot answer that terribly well. I do not believe that information has been made available explicitly. However, from a German document I came across I can infer that the following companies are likely to be participating as well – Peace Naturals, TILRAY, Pedanios/Aurora and Spektrum/Canopy Growth.

What do you think of them?

Hehe, that’s a good question. I will just keep it professional and say that I think they are noble competitors and our win against them will be very satisfying.

Do we stand a good chance?

Heck yes!

Emmeloord fully operational by the end of 2019

It is our intention to have Emmeloord fully up and running by the end of 2019. The expansion is essential in order to meet the steady stream of orders, particularly from abroad. Industrial medicinal cannabis, which requires less processing, is in high demand.

The expansion will double the production capacity of A5 from 4,000 to 8,000 kilos a year. The first harvest is expected in in week 52 or week 1 of 2020. At the moment, we’re awaiting the final go from the bank. The Board hopes to have more clarity soon.

Business Development is taking shape

Over the past few weeks, our CFO Mauricio Agudelo has been working hard on setting up the Business Development team. New staff has been taken on and they are based in the Bedrocan office on the Amsterdam Zuidas. Mauricio will lead the team, and they are keen to ensure Bedrocan flourishes. We asked Mauricio what business development actually entails and how the team can help Bedrocan grow.

“Our team is in charge of expanding and developing revenue-generating opportunities. That means we try to find new clients who purchase our product and satisfy the needs of existing clients”, says Mauricio. “It’s important that we convince buyers that we are better than our competitors because our product is standardised, and we don’t have shortages.”

The team also helps to define the right cannabis price when Bedrocan wants to start up a new production facility abroad. “It’s important that we set the right price, so our company can be more successful”, according to Mauricio.

Finding new partnerships

Another major role is to find other companies to work with Bedrocan. Mauricio said “We want to make sure that we increase the company’s turnover, either by developing existing accounts or by finding new partnerships and joint ventures.“ Even though growth is on everyone’s mind, Mauricio does not see it as an imperative, but as a preference. “We want to grow as a company in the Netherlands and abroad because we want to make sure that patients around the world can benefit from the medicine we produce.”

Overview of new Bedrocan employees

We would like to welcome the following new employees.

Name Role Location
Varun Arora Business Development Specialist Amsterdam
Mair Nouriev Business Development Analyst Amsterdam
Helda Suharto Executive Assistant Business Development Amsterdam
Rose Taylor Business Development Associate Amsterdam
Anthonia Vries Senior Executive Assistant Veendam
Henny Zuur HR Bedrocan Nederland Emmeloord

Transition from period wage to monthly wage for Bedrocan Nederland employees

Watch out, employees of Bedrocan Nederland! As of 1 January 2019, salary payment will be on a monthly basis. This ensures that payments will be made at the same time for all employees.

More specifically, it means your salary is paid each calendar month around the 22nd rather than every four weeks. This does not change your salary on an annual basis; the only thing that changes is the time of payment.

On the right is an illustration. Your current weekly wage is multiplied by 52.2 and then divided by 12.

A production employee, scale B increment 1, earns € 9.69 per hour. The average working week is 38 hours.

Wage per week Wage per period Wage per month
 hourly wage x 38 hours =  € 368.22 weekly wage x 4 weeks = € 1,472.88 (weekly wage x 52.2)/12 = € 1,601.76

This change is in line with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CAO).

Technical systems at A5 reset

Over the past few months, we have worked hard on dealing with the technical issues at A5. Process Engineer Sjoerd Loonstra spent eight months assessing the technical systems and, where necessary, adjusting or resetting them. He also validated equipment and a Risk Assessment and Evaluation regarding the storage and use of hazardous substances was prepared under his responsibility. A brief look back.

“The construction and commissioning of the A5 site went at a massively rapid rate, and production needed to start up quickly and in full flow. As such that is not unusual, but it means you come across the teething problems fairly quickly. The same was true here.” That is how Sjoerd explained the catch-up he performed together with a number of colleagues over the past few months. “Production was in full flow, but issues had been observed with HVAC, the air-treatment system that is responsible for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. The fact that the cooling system that had not been received and commissioned was another significant shortcoming.”

As the production process had already been started and could not be interrupted, a thorough plan was prepared in consultation with QA, technician Marc Meulenberg, Operations and a number of suppliers. Sjoerd said “All the documentation was put in order and we prepared a comprehensive inventory of all the technical systems in order to prepare properly for the required validation. How is the system, and does all the equipment what it should do? How have process control and maintenance been organised? What needs to be adjusted? This was a time-consuming process, because it dealt with the minutest details. The inventory also included GMP aspects, because all the equipment needs to comply with the requirements for pharmaceutical production. Validation – in its simplest terms, does the equipment do what it should do – is essential.”

The technical systems are in order, the validation is pretty much completed and in the meantime Sjoerd was given another little job. “Partly as a result of an incident, I was asked to prepare a Risk Assessment and Evaluation (RI&E) for working with hazardous substances. Besides a focus on the safety and quality of the product, Bedrocan gives high priority to the safety of its own employees, and you simply cannot afford any safety risks on the work floor. That report is now ready, and will be worked out into actions.”

Sjoerd looks back on an interesting and instructive period. “Bedrocan is an unusual company with an unusual product. The company is growing at a rapid rate and that includes its production capacity. It means the organisation constantly faces the challenge of ensuring that technological applications keep pace with production growth, without jeopardising or compromising on quality and safety. There is clear awareness of that challenge.”

Update about travel reimbursement business trip

This is to inform you that km reimbursements for business trips take place from the location the employee is working, for instance:

  • A1: Veendam
  • A2: Veendam
  • A5: Emmeloord
  • Amsterdam

For those who receive a km reimbursement home-work-home it would mean receiving double reimbursement for a business trip if counting the kilometres for the business trip is starting to count from the home address.

Example
The employee is working at A2 Veendam and has a business trip to A5 Emmeloord. The employee lives in a place with a distance of more than 10 km from Veendam. He/she gets a km reimbursement (home-work-home) based on a distance (for example: 15 km). This means that the km declaration for the business trip is valid from the working location A2 Veendam.

In case you might have any questions, please contact the HR department.

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