Aurora reaches $115-million deal to acquire Vancouver cannabis-research firm Anandia Laboratories

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      Aurora Cannabis Inc. has announced it has reached a deal to purchase Vancouver's Anandia Laboratories Inc. for a value of approximately $115 million.

      Aurora is a Health Canada-licensed cannabis producer with its headquarters in Edmonton plus large facilities in Mountain View County, Alberta, and Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

      Anandia is a cannabis genetics and research firm based on the UBC campus in Metro Vancouver.

      An Aurora media release issued this morning (June 12) includes a detailed description of the sort of technical expertise that Aurora believes it's getting for the price of $115 million.

      "Led by CEO and co-founder Jonathan Page, PhD, one of the industry's most widely recognized cannabis experts, Anandia is considered the industry leader in science, genetics, and independent cannabis product testing," it reads. "Dr. Page was the first scientist to sequence the cannabis genome and provide deep insights into the biosynthesis of cannabinoids and the interplay between cannabinoids and terpenes.

      "Anandia's intellectual property ("IP") includes the exclusive rights to a number of key genes in the cannabinoid pathway, as well as patents pending for genetic markers," the release continues. "The strength of Anandia's expert staff, proprietary assets and know-how will provide Aurora with a very significant advantage in developing new cannabis cultivars. For instance, genome-based variety development and technological fortification can tailor metabolite (cannabinoid and terpene) profiles, improve disease resistance, enhance crop yield and optimize flowering time, and can be employed to develop specialized cultivars for oil production."

      Aurora will also take possession of Anandia's concrete assets, including a 12,700-square-foot corporate head office, testing lab, and research centre, as well as a 22,500-square-foot cannabis breeding and genetics facility.

      The deal is an all-stock transaction that will see Aurora purchase Anandia shares in exchange for Aurora common shares. It's expected to close in the coming weeks.

      A Bloomberg report on the transaction describes Aurora's purchase of the Vancouver company as part of an ongoing "buying spree".

      "Aurora has set a dizzying pace for deal-making in Canada’s emerging cannabis industry," it reads. "Besides the Anandia deal, it has announced at least 14 other acquisitions in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That includes last month’s agreement for Aurora to purchase rival grower MedReleaf Corp. for about C$3.22 billion."

      On June 7, the Canadian Senate approved Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, with amendments. The bill is now on its way back to the House of Commons with Canada on track to legalize recreational marijuana before the end of 2018.