Internal Newsletter

Focus on raw-materials supply and no recreational cultivation

Over the coming years, Bedrocan will focus further on its position as pharmaceutical raw-materials supplier in order to win more contracts from pharmaceutical companies. This does not sit well with cultivation for the recreational market. Management and the board recently confirmed this in the first outlines of the new corporate strategy. The final strategy will be explained at a special personnel meeting early 2018.

With this positioning, Bedrocan aims to improve its response to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. More specifically this means that the level of standardisation needs to improve, or rather the quantity of active ingredients in our cannabis needs to become more accurate. Improving the standardisation method becomes one of the most important objectives for the Research & Development department.

Bedrocan worldwide

It has also been agreed that it is not essential to have a production facility in every country in the world. Some countries can be served perfectly well by means of exports. In the outlook for the future, there is room for five large facilities that provide the world with Bedrocan medicinal cannabis. However, this is only possible if it is permitted by national legislation. At the moment, Bedrocan is planning three expansion locations alongside the Netherlands and Canada – Germany, Israel and Australia.

What is standardisation?

In order to be able to use cannabis as raw material for medicines, it has to be fully standardised. Standardisation means that the end product always has the same chemical composition. Bedrocan has developed a method that ensures the entire chemical content of cannabis never varies, harvest after harvest.

Management is also looking to explore a number of other opportunities. One of those is the residual waste of our cannabis plants. At the moment, roots, stalks and leaves are destroyed even though they may be reusable. The residual materials contain valuable substances that could be processed into cannabis oil.

Bedrocan is also studying whether it could profile itself in the market with other products, such as food supplements that contain cannabis or medicinal cannabis oil. Continuing to develop the Bedromedic vaporizer is part of this market exploration.

Finally, so-called white labelling is an issue that deserves our attention. White labelling means that our medicinal cannabis is marketed by another party under another brand name. This approach could generate additional turnover.

No recreational cannabis

In the corporate strategy, management expresses a clear position on cultivation for the recreational market. “We will not do it”, says chairman of the board Tjalling Erkelens. “Not even if we are asked by the Dutch government. That direction cannot be combined with our ambition to be the best manufacturer of medicinal cannabis in the world.”

 

Even though Bedrocan is a pharmaceutical company, we will not develop any medicines ourselves. The corresponding, expensive clinical trials that are required to market medication will be left to the pharmaceutical industry. However, Bedrocan will continue to invest in clinical trials where the effect of medicinal cannabis as an unprocessed raw material is studied. There are two ongoing studies at the moment, one in Australia that studies the effect of cannabis in terminal cancer patients. The second is a Dutch study amongst fibromyalgia patients. In both studies, patients are administered Bedrocan medical cannabis by means of a vaporizer. More information on these studies can be found on the Bedrocan-website.

Bedrocan welcomes new management and board members

As of December, Bedrocan International’s management team is now officially a full complement. Daily leadership of the organisation is in the hands of Tjalling Erkelens, Lisette de Ruigh and Robert van Dijk, and aided by Mauricio Agudelo. As he is a founding father and chairman of Bedrocan, there is no need to introduce Tjalling to our employees. In September, Lisette de Ruigh started as chief operations officer and that makes her responsible for day-to-day production processes. Lisette graduated as a vet and gained large amounts of pharmaceutical, managerial and operational knowledge at CRV Holding (cattle improvement), amongst others. Before she joined Bedrocan, Lisette was operations manager at WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo in Emmen.

Our chief financial officer Robert van Dijk arrived to strengthen our organisation at the same time as Lisette. Robert may carry the title Master of Business Administration (financial services and insurances) and has held a range of management posts in various financial institutions. At Bedrocan International, Robert shall have final responsibility for finance and HR (personnel matters), amongst others.

Tjalling Erkelens, Lisette de Ruigh en Robert van Dijk

Tjalling, Lisette and Robert are joined by Mauricio Agudelo, who is responsible for global business development as Commercial Director. Mauricio lives and works in New York. He completed the Yale School of Management and is also Managing Director of Dioscorides Global Holdings; an investment platform focused on research & development in the area of medicinal cannabis.

Board of directors

Ben Bronfman is one of the founders of Dioscorides Global Holdings. It is not easy to provide a brief explanation of Ben, so we refer to WikiPedia. Our contact with Ben goes back a long time and after comprehensive mutual exploration he has taken a seat on our Board of Directors. Together with Tjalling and a Managing Director, yet to be selected, he will help to set the course of our organisation.

Official opening Emmeloord

Recently we commissioned our new facility in Emmeloord without any fanfare. We know better than anyone that modesty adorns a man, but we would like to share this event with our clients and builders. On Friday 12 January 2018, there is an official opening for invited guests at 14.30 hours. Jan-Nico Appelman, member of the Provincial Executive of Flevoland with responsibility for the Economic Affairs portfolio, will perform the official opening.

HR-Department is taking shape

The development of Bedrocan has brought about a need for a professional Personnel Department, also known as HR or Human Resources. Bedrocan’s HR Department will make sure that employees are used in such a manner that they can make an effective contribution to achieving our new corporate targets

At the moment, we are redesigning our personnel policy, which describes what Bedrocan expects from its employees and what the employees may expect in return. Guidelines are prepared for remuneration, employing personnel, remuneration systems, training and career development. It is important that there is a balanced match between the objectives and targets of Bedrocan on the one hand and the development needs of the employees on the other. At the same time we analyse whether we comply with all the relevant legislation and regulations.

New HR employee

Nedzmija Sipovac
Nedzmija Sipovac

At the start of the new year, the HR department will have a new employee for Bedrocan Nederland – Nedzmija Sipovac.

Previously, Nedzmija worked as HR Manager for the British building services company ISG that built the Google data centres in Eemshaven. She studied occupational and organisational psychology at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. She was born in Bosnia; when the war broke out in 1992, she fled with her parents and her brother to the Netherlands. Nedzmija will be based in Emmeloord, but she will also attend meetings in Veendam on a regular basis.

Janny Homan has been working for Bedrocan International for some time and Patricia Zeegers is, together with the executive management team, responsible for preparing and implementing personnel policy. Nedzmija and Janny will support her and they will be the point of contact for managers and personnel in respect of questions about contracts, leave, conflicts, remuneration and career development.

Emmeloord GMP-certified

In November, the production processes of A5, like those of A2 earlier this year, were compared with the GMP benchmark and assessed as compliant by the Dutch government (the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate, IGJ).  This means Bedrocan Nederland is the first, and for the time being the only, GMP-certified manufacturer of standardised medicinal cannabis in the world. In this and the coming editions of the Newsletter we will deal with the need for and the benefit of GMP.

The patient is at the heart

Ralph Steele on good manufacturing practice

GMP is the abbreviation for good manufacturing practice and is a worldwide prerequisite for pharmaceuticals production. In kitchen-and-garden language this means a ’good production method’ and according to Quality Assurance (QA) Manager Wim Bouter that pretty much explains the meaning. “The patient is at the heart”, he commented.

Quality is no coincidence

Good manufacturing practice is the set of requirements and regulations that apply to the production of medicines. This requires standardised processes, clear, documented procedures and well-instructed employees, because quality is no coincidence. For Bedrocan International, Bedrocan Netherlands and all other (future) Bedrocan organisations, GMP is a crucial requirement.

“The pharmaceutical world has recorded how the production process of pharmaceutical products needs to be set up. The objective is to control or even exclude risks as much as possible. For example, this means a clean work environment, properly operating and clean equipment, stable processes and trained, properly instructed employees.”

For Ralph Steele, Cultivation Team Leader at the A5 site, GMP does not harbour too many secrets any more. After completing his degree (Biochemistry), he worked for the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, Chiron (now known as Synco Bio Partners). This is a so- called contract manufacturing organization (CMO) that produces biopharmaceutical products to order; he also worked for MSD (Merck & Co.). Although Bedrocan Nederland is a different organisation with a different product, Ralph saw important similarities right from the start. “Bedrocan Nederland is a pharmaceutical company. We produce a product that is intended for patients. This involves responsibilities in respect of quality and safety. GMP is a way to guarantee that quality and safety as much as possible, and that starts on the work floor.”

Ralph recognises that GMP requires discipline and would appear to be fairly bureaucratic to outsiders. “It involves plenty of writing, but the principle and concept of GMP means that any action that has not been recorded has not been performed.”

“So, we record everything! Good reporting is essential when there are deviations, because we cannot afford the risk of process errors. However, employees are also challenged to think about improving processes or making them more efficient, because GMP is also about continuous improvement. Employees are in the middle of all the work processes, day in day out, and they can see clearly what goes well and what could be better. Again the same applies, record and report!”

Now the GMP certification has been obtained for A5 too, Bedrocan Nederland has outgrown the level of ‘professional cannabis grower’ once and for all, said Ralph. “We are a real pharmaceutical company that produces raw materials for medical products. That responsibility imposes requirements on the organisation and its people. Professionalism and integrity – being able to address each other in a reasonable manner – are key concepts. Ralph continued “When a doctor prescribes medicinal cannabis and a patient takes medicinal cannabis, they take this on trust. If you betray that trust, you’re finished as a company.”

Ralph Steele
Ralph Steele

Exports to Macedonia

Bedrocan acquired a new client in Replek Farm. This manufacturer of pharmaceutical products from Macedonia plans to purchase 250 kilos next year. This largely concerns the product Bedrolite, which they plan to process into cannabis oil. The oil is intended for exports to the so-called Balkans (Croatia, Serbia, etc).

Chemistree

Season’s Greetings from A1

Call it art… call it botany… either way, Sharon Oosterhuis and Stefan Ridderbos (Phyto Engineering) needed just a few spare moments to produce the Chemis Tree. Perfect for the festive season.

Yield overview Emmeloord and Veendam

In recent weeks, over 900 kilos have been produced in Emmeloord (A5) and Veendam (A2) together. A top yield. The dip in week 42 can be explained by the fact that two species were grown in one production cell on A5. Only one species has been processed.

The pie chart below shows the types that have been produced per location in recent weeks. The product Bedrocan is clearly a runner and is grown in large batches on A5. The other products are less in demand. They are often ordered in smaller batches.

Christmas gratification for all employees

In consultation with Santa Claus, the executive management team has decided to reward all employees of Bedrocan International and Bedrocan Nederland for their efforts in 2017. Everyone who worled for Bedrocan International or Bedrocan Nederland at least three months in this eventful year, automatically receives a Christmas bonus on his/her bank account.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. And for those who work during the Holidays: good luck and go for it!

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