Roadman Investments (LITT.V) really doesn’t want to talk about cedar leaf oil anymore

06/26/2020

One of Roadman Investments (LITT.V) subsidiaries, CLOV Biopharma, recently completed its research program at UBC on cedar leaf oil vapour, but the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) doesn’t care.

The research program has taken a bit longer than the company would have liked, courtesy of COVID-19, but the company’s doctors have acquired most of the exemptions required to let them do it. We’ll get to the specifics in a bit. First, this is an unorthodox way of doing these types of things. The correct way to market a product is to base your product claims on established science—not make the claims and then try to back them up with science after the regulatory powers-that-be rain thunder down from on high. But that’s exactly what Roadman’s doing, and here we are.

“Although we are pleased with these initial results, material developments towards commercialization of a product that could be marketed as a treatment or solution to prevent COVID-19 are not expected in the near term. As a result, the company will no longer be actively reporting on the status of CBP or its research program until there has been a material development that would warrant further disclosure,” said Luke Montaine, chief executive officer.

Odd.

They weren’t saying that back when we first started covering this story in April, back when COVID-19 was still a Chinese problem, and companies were speculating that their products could be the solution. Of course, these companies properly hedged their statements to stay on the right side of the various regulatory bodies. Well, Roadman didn’t, and the SEC did a tapdance on their heads for the transgression.

Here’s what we originally wrote about cedarwood oil:

Cedar oil, or cedarwood oil, is an essential oil taken from pine or cypress botanical families. It’s taken from either the foliage, roots, and stumps. The oil can be extracted through either steam distillation, carbon dioxide distillation and cold pressing, and then repurposed into many different products, like shampoos, deodorants and colognes.

Now we all have that friend who swears by the healing properties of some plant. For years, it was hemp—that one could gradually be proven right—but sometimes it’s some obscure root vegetable, boiled down into a tea that will cure your genital warts. Or maybe applied as a topical. Or you get the idea. Sometimes they were onto something, but there’s a stark difference between drinking your hippy friend’s mysterious curative mushroom tea, and packaging and producing it for mass consumption as a curative for the worst plague since the Spanish Flu.

Roadman tried to get in touch with the SEC post smackdown to respond to some of their claims, but SEC isn’t taking their calls. Why might that be, you ask. Maybe because they’re busy dealing with companies that follow the rules and procedures set out to get their products on shelves, and don’t have time for companies that don’t.

The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), itself an apparently forgiving grandmotherly type of securities commission, picked little Roadman up from its tussle with the big bad SEC, brushed off its skim knee, and gave it another chance. They’re talking. They want regular updates on how the oil vapour research program is going.

So how’s it going? Well—about that.

“CBP is not permitted to acquire the authentic SARS CoV-2 coronavirus (associated with COVID-19). CBP obtained surrogate coronaviruses 229E and OC43 for testing in substitution of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus which are commonly used for testing purposes for SARS virus research.”

Wait.

If the company can’t physically get their hands on the coronavirus, how can they confirm the efficacy of their product? They’ve acquired analogous coronaviruses, which share common traits with the SARS CoV-2. But analogs aren’t CoV-2, now are they? They respond differently with the body. This virus isn’t like any other coronavirus that we’ve seen to date.

“SARS-CoV-2 is likely more contagious than the viruses that cause influenza and common cold because it is new to humans. Humans have no way to prepare for it, and their immune systems are not ready to fight it. This results in the virus causing more cellular damage and producing more inflammatory cells,” according to Clayton T. Cowl, M.D., preventative, occupational and aerospace medicine for the Mayo Clinic

So there’s no guarantee that when and if the company manages to cozen licensing permissions to acquire the correct coronavirus, and squirt it with their tree-oil, that all of this won’t have been in vain because what works on the rhinovirus may not work on the real deal. Right.

According to a press release, the company isn’t aware of anymore required disclosure updates, but they note the review is still in progress. In response, they’ve implemented a trading blackout for insiders while the review is underway and the company is trying to earn the resumption of trading on the TSX-V.

Probably smart.

They also mention requiring significant financing to move into advanced research and for any regulatory approvals they might need, and there’s no assurance that any such research or product testing or regulatory approvals will happen soon, if ever.

Roadman also crossed their heart and promised they wouldn’t talk about cedar leaf oil anymore.

Good thinking.

—Joseph Morton

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