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FastForward Inn Ltd (FFWD)

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Friday 26 February, 2021

FastForward Inn Ltd

Corporate Update

RNS Number : 4284Q
FastForward Innovations Limited
26 February 2021
 

FastForward Innovations Ltd / AIM: FFWD / Sector: Closed End Investments

 

26 February 2021

 

FastForward Innovations Ltd ("FastForward", "FFWD" or the "Company")

 

Corporate Update

 

FastForward Innovations Ltd, the AIM quoted company focusing on making investments in fast growing and industry leading businesses, is pleased to provide a corporate update prior to its financial year-end (31 March) in respect of its portfolio of investee companies.

 

Highlights

· In line with the investing policy adopted in July 2020 the Directors have succeeded in achieving a better balance to the Company's portfolio between liquid, pre-liquidity and longer term investments (as determined in the Company's Investing Policy);

· Over £4m raised through the placing of ordinary shares in the second half of the financial year;

· Three new investments added to the portfolio, three follow on investments into portfolio companies;

· EMMAC Life Sciences completed a fundraise of £15 million which saw strong support from existing investors, including FastForward, to enable it to continue to build on its position as one of Europe's largest independent cannabis companies

· FastForward invested £250,000 into South West Brands, a London-based group that that is seeking to establish itself as a multi-brand consumer goods group developed specifically for the CBD industry

· Juvenescence continues to be well capitalised and has plans to go public in 2021

· FastForward made a further investment into Leap Gaming to support rapid growth

Leap created a unique new vintage betting product, EuroLeague Legends, which was launched by IMG Arena in partnership with EuroLeague Basketball, adding another revenue stream to its suite of products, and is exploring its options with regards to a liquidity event in 2021

· Portage received approval to list its common shares on the NASDAQ exchange and expects to commence trading on 25 February 2021 under the symbol 'PRTG'

· Yooma completed its reverse take-over of Globalive and the new combined company, Yooma Wellness, began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on the 11 February 2021

· FastForward invested A$1 million (£563,000) into Little Green Pharma, an ASX-listed, vertically integrated medicinal cannabis business with operations from cultivation and production through to manufacturing and distribution

· FastForward invested £62,500 in Kanabo Group Plc, a medical cannabis company which commenced trading on the London Stock Exchange on 16 February 2021

 

Ed McDermott, CEO of FastForward Innovations, commented: "We are delighted with the way our portfolio is evolving. We now have a really good mix of liquid, pre-liquidity and longer term investments as well as a good cash position to make further investments which taken together greatly reduces the risk of our portfolio whilst giving much clearer visibility on potential returns. Investor interest in the cannabinoid sector is escalating with several new companies nearing listing or recently listed on a UK exchange.  This can only be good for the sector as a whole, raising its profile and making it more mainstream. 

 

"Ongoing clinical research into Cannabis/cannabinoids is beginning to show efficacy in helping certain conditions.  Having been involved in the sector for several years and with five investee companies operating within the space, we are ideally positioned to benefit from this growth and cement our position as a leading investor in the sector.  At present we remain the only AIM listed company investing in the sector.

 

"We are pleased to have expanded our exposure to the health and medical cannabis sector, capitalising on our knowledge and experience and our ambition is to invest further in the sector during the course of 2021. Whilst clearly cannabis is a focus at present our portfolio is well balanced with a number of non-cannabis assets such as Leap Gaming and Juvenescence both of which we hope will secure liquidity events in 2021 as well as Portage which has just transitioned to the NASDAQ.

 

"With a wide portfolio of ground-breaking businesses, products, and technologies, I believe that FastForward has reached a tipping point and that shareholders will be substantially rewarded for their support."

 

Investee Company Review

 

Liquid Investments

 

Portage Biotech Inc. (CNSX: PBT.U) is a biotechnology company focused on developing best-in-class or first-in-class therapeutics through a portfolio of nine subsidiary companies. Its pipeline of projects under development, including research and treatments for various cancers, eye disease and acute kidney injury, is progressing well. At the end of 2020, one of Portage's subsidiary companies, Intensity Therapeutics Inc, which is pioneering a new immune-based approach to treat solid cancer tumours, entered into a clinical trial collaboration agreement with New York Stock Exchange listed Bristol Myers Squibb Company. It also announced new efficacy and safety data from the ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical study of INT230-6, its lead product candidate.

 

Portage had a positive start to 2021 with its research and development goals for the year including advancing three of its pipeline assets through to clinical trials. On 11 February 2021, Portage also announced that it has received approval from the NASDAQ Capital Market ('NASDAQ') to list its common shares on the NASDAQ exchange, and expects to commence trading on 25 February 2021 under the symbol 'PRTG'. Along with Portage's pipeline of products, which are targeted for clinical testing in 2021, it supports a number of subsidiary companies showing significant promise and the Board look forward to providing further updates as its portfolio continues on its growth trajectory.

 

Based on the closing price of US$35.14 on 23 February 2021, FastForward's holding of 68,306 shares in Portage has a valuation of US$2,400,273 (£1,703,892).

 

Yooma Wellness Inc. (CNSX: YOOM) is Asia's first HEMP and CBD Lifestyle company, which delivers products to consumers through exclusive distribution of third-party skincare and beauty brands utilising its data-driven digital marketing expertise.

 

On 11 February 2021, Yooma completed its reverse take-over of Globalive Technology Inc. by way of a statutory plan of arrangement and the new combined company, Yooma Wellness, began trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on the same day under the ticker symbol 'YOOM'. As the first of four of FastForward's investee companies gearing up for a liquidity event, this was extremely positive news, and the Board is confident that the listing will pave Yooma's way towards strengthening its global footprint.

 

Based on the closing price of CAN$1.450 on 23 February 2021, FastForward's holding of 4,007,165 shares in Yooma has a valuation of CAN$5,810,389  (£3,274,566).

 

Little Green Pharma (ASX: LGP) is an ASX-listed, vertically integrated medicinal cannabis business with operations from cultivation and production through to manufacturing and distribution.

 

Little Green Pharma ('LGP') has an indoor cultivation facility and manufacturing facility in Western Australia to produce its own-branded range of GMP-grade medicinal cannabis products. Its growing product range comply with all required Therapeutic Goods Administration regulations and testing requirements. With a growing range of products containing differing ratios of active ingredients, LGP supplies medical-grade cannabis products to Australian and overseas markets. Recently, it has made progress in the establishment of offshore distribution channels including to the UK, Germany, and New Zealand to further strengthen its geographic reach.

 

On 11 February 2021, FastForward announced that it has invested A$1 million (£563,000) in a placing undertaken by LGP through which it raised a total of A$22 million at a price of $0.65c. The funds will be used to execute LGP's next phase of growth by accelerating sales and marketing efforts in Australia and in offshore markets; expanding cultivation and manufacturing capacity; and providing general working capital. The investment further develops FastForward's exposure to the medicinal cannabis industry and the Company looks forward to supporting LGP and its management in the coming months.

 

Following this, on 18 February 2021, LGP announced that it will be exclusively supplying medicinal cannabis oil products to enrolled patients as well as providing funding for study costs for the QUality of life Evaluation STudy ('The QUEST Initiative'). The QUEST Initiative, which is being conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney, aims to be one of the world's largest longitudinal studies investigating the quality of life and health economics on patients with chronic disease prescribed medicinal cannabis.

 

Based on the closing price of ASX$0.69 on 23 February 2021, FastForward's holding of 1,538,462 shares in Little Green Pharma has a valuation of ASX$1,061,539 (£596,337).

 

Kanabo Group Plc (LON: KNB)   is aiming to create a new standard in the medical cannabis industry to improve the well-being of millions around the world and will focus on the distribution of cannabis-derived products for medical patients, and THC-free CBD products for consumers. Kanabo Group Plc ('Kanabo') has conducted extensive research and development at its research centre in Israel to develop high-quality Cannabis extract formulas, innovative medical-grade vaporisers, and various non-smoking consumption solutions, making it easy and accessible for anyone in need of treatment. It has the only medically-vaporisation device, the VapePod®, which provides metered dosages of its proprietary cannabis-based oil formulations and is already engaged in selling its products as part of a Pilot Scheme and expects be ready to scale up sales in the near term.

 

On 16 February 2021, FastForward invested £62,500 as part of a £6 million oversubscribed placing at a price of 6.5 pence undertaken by Kanabo, further developing FastForward's exposure to the medical cannabis industry.  Following strong initial trading, the Company took the decision to realise most of this small investment, taking a profit of c.£136,000 (twice the amount invested).

 

Based on the closing price of £0.268 on 23 February 2021, FastForward's remaining holding of 11,538 shares in Kanabo has a valuation of £3,092.

 

Pre-liquidity investments

 

EMMAC Life Sciences Plc is one of Europe's largest medical cannabis companies, brings together cutting-edge scientific research with the latest innovations in cannabis cultivation, extraction, and production.

 

EMMAC Life Sciences ('EMMAC') began 2021 with a successful funding round which raised a total of £15 million.  FastForward was issued £750,000 of 12-month Convertible Loan Notes as part of the raise which saw strong support from existing shareholders, with Measure 8 Venture Partners LP, EMMAC's largest existing cash investor, leading the round with a significant investment. Growth in EMMAC's key European markets including the UK continue to gain momentum as demand for medical cannabis related wellness products grows and the funds will enable EMMAC to continue to build on its position as one of Europe's largest independent cannabis companies.

 

As announced on 20 January 2021, EMMAC has since entered into a licensing agreement with Yooma Corp. ('Yooma') whereby Yooma will license EMMAC's wellness brands, including Blossom, MYO, Hello Joya, and What the Hemp.  Under the terms of the agreement, Yooma has exclusive rights for the distribution and sale of the EMMAC Brands in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia as well as non-exclusive distribution rights in certain other global markets. Yooma intends to integrate the EMMAC Brands into its existing sales channels in Asia, including cross-border ecommerce in China on various Alibaba platforms, accelerating growth and driving new market entry for EMMAC.

 

Most recently, on 26 January 2021, EMMAC announced that in partnership with Paris Euronext listed Boiron, it has been selected by the French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products as one of the suppliers for the forthcoming French Medical Cannabis trial. The trial, the first of its kind in France, will allow 3,000 patients access to medical cannabis as a treatment option for certain indications; including chronic pain, epilepsy, oncology, and spasticity; under tightly controlled conditions. The partnership combines Boiron's unparalleled expertise in plant-based medicine, with EMMAC's uniquely controlled European supply chain, from seed to patient, in order to deliver pharmaceutical-grade cannabis medicines that meet the strict requirements of product quality, safety and traceability.

 

Juvenescence Ltd is a biopharmaceutical company with a pipeline of therapeutic assets focused on therapies to modify aging and increase healthy human longevity, developed in joint ventures with scientists and leading research institutions. 

 

Juvenescence continues to be well capitalised. It currently has over 13 companies within its four divisions, JuvLife, JuvRx, Relation and Lygenesis, and has intentions to acquire new and exciting assets in 2021. Whilst Juvenescence experienced some delays in its clinical work as a result of COVID-19, these divisions all maintained momentum, each facilitating opportunities for each other, creating a unique ecosystem. Notably, Lygenisis is starting its Phase 2A/B human clinical trial soon with a target first patient first visit this quarter and JuvLife has finalised its website and overall communication plan to be fully launched and ready for sales in Q2.

 

Juvenescence has plans to go public in 2021, which will allow it to transition its business development efforts towards clinical stage products and continue to build out its model.

 

Leap Gaming is a B2B developer of high-end virtual reality gaming applications with a fast-growing product portfolio developed in partnership with leading global brands. 

 

Leap Gaming ('Leap') continues to demonstrate its world-leading ability to create totally unique and innovative products that challenge other gaming developers worldwide and take gaming experiences to new levels. Most recently, it created a unique new vintage betting product, EuroLeague Legends, which was launched by IMG Arena in partnership with EuroLeague Basketball. EuroLeague Basketball, which has been an IMG Arena partner since 2015, is the organiser of Europe's premier professional basketball competition the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and also runs the 7DAYS EuroCup. The extension of the partnership between the two companies with the launch of the new product will have a significant impact on Leap Gaming, adding another important revenue stream to its suite of products across the global gaming operators.

 

In February 2021, FastForward's further investment of €117,641 in Leap Gaming to support rapid growth, as announced on 22 June 2020, was rolled up with €8,728.80 accrued interest, and a new commitment of €165,266 (£146,339.17), resulting in an enlarged Convertible Loan Note ('CLN') position of €291,642 (£251,719).  The CLN matures on 31 December 2022, attracts interest at 1% per annum and is convertible at a 25% discount to the price of a future liquidity event or eligible fundraising (with the valuation of Leap being capped at €15 million for conversion purposes, providing for greater than the 25% discount in the event of a liquidity event above this price).

 

Leap Gaming is another of FastForward's investee companies that is exploring its options with regards to a potential liquidity event in 2021.

 

Longer Term Investments

 

South West Brands is a London-based group that that is seeking to establish itself as a multi-brand consumer goods group developed specifically for the CBD industry.  Its all-female management team is led by CEO Rebekah Hall, who is a pioneer in the burgeoning CBD market in Europe and regarded as one of the foremost experts on CBD consumer products.

 

On 1 February 2021, FastForward announced that it had made an initial investment of £250,000 in South West Brands ('SWB') by way of a two-year Convertible Loan Note, adding to its growing portfolio of cannabis-focused investments. The funding round raised a total of £500,000, which will be used to launch and market SWB's pipeline of new CBD brands across multiple product verticals, including its first new brands in the menstrual cycle care and beauty categories in April 2021.

 

Vemo Education designs, implements, and manages income share agreement programmes for its partners, an agreement between a school and student to defer some of their cost in exchange for a fixed percentage of their post-graduation income for a fixed period. Vemo doubled its ISA volume in 2020 and increased the number of colleges and universities using its products circa 17% to over 70.

 

Factom was established to address bitcoin's limitations to be a practical blockchain for Enterprise data solutions. After the conversion of a SAFE note, the Company is assisting with restructuring following Chapter 11 bankruptcy approval in the US. However, despite attempts to secure new funding, it is looking increasingly likely that Factom will not be able to find a resolution. The Company will update shareholders as there is more clarity on the situation.

 

ENDS

 

For further information on the Company please visit www.fstfwd.co   or contact:

 

Ed McDermott

Lance de Jersey

FastForward Innovations Ltd

E: [email protected]  

 

James Biddle

Roland Cornish

Beaumont Cornish Limited

Nomad

 

T: 020 7628 3396

 

Isabella Pierre

Damon Heath

Shard Capital Partners LLP

 

T: 020 7186 9927

Isabel de Salis

Beth Melluish

St Brides Partners Ltd

Financial PR

 

E: [email protected]

 

Notes

FastForward Innovations is an AIM quoted investment company focused primarily on disruptive high growth life sciences and technology businesses particularly within the medical cannabis arena. The Company's strategy is to identify early-stage opportunities that have an upcoming investment catalyst and grow its portfolio in terms of value whilst limiting the number of investee companies to a level where relevant time can be devoted to each.

 

 

 

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