“Say something, goddammit! You are on television! You’re live to the whole world!”
– The Truman Show
After multiple attempts at writing a story on HAVN Life Sciences (HAVN.C) I have decided to quit bashing my head against the wall trying to come up with an interesting angle.
I have read every press release, MD&A and financial statement, pitch deck and company interview I could find and nothing really stook. I have written about over 100 public cannabis and psychedelics companies, but this one has me completely frozen. If anyone finds something interesting in their MD&A please email me.
You know those really bad Kitchen Nightmare episodes where Gordon Ramsey has a meltdown in the walk-in fridge? There’s a handful of those companies in the psychedelics sector. HAVN Life Sciences isn’t that, but they are the next worst thing – boring.
Their mission statement reads as follows:
HAVN Life is a Canadian biotechnology company pursuing standardized, quality-controlled extraction of psychoactive compounds from plants and fungi and the development of natural health care products, and mental health treatments to support mental health.
“mental health treatments to support mental health.”
I can slowly feel the life leaving my body.
Everyone knows the American chain restaurant Applebee’s.
It’s a pretty safe bet the food won’t be disgusting, and you probably won’t get food poisoning. It’s not really based on any kind of culture aside from its place in the American strip mall. It serves Italian food, Texmex, salads, steaks – but it’s not really known for anything.
It’s a little of this, a little of that in a clean environment that no one either loves or hates. No one knows why it exists, it’s just kind of there.
$216k on reishi research
HAVN developed 7 mushroom supplements last year. According to the company, research and development expenses to date of $216,542 CAD “consist primarily of costs incurred to develop the company’s current line of natural health products.'”
There are no other current products mentioned in any of their marketing materials. In December 2020, the company announced a product listing agreement for their natural health products to be sold in select Nesters Markets in British Columbia. The range of products is expected to hit shelves British Columbia in 2022.
I assume these are the products.
So…where was the $216,542 CAD spent?
There is nothing unique here. These products are rampant in natural health food stores, and when purchased in bulk powder is cheaper than sand. In Vancouver, there is a store on Commercial Drive where you can get garbage bags full of reishi, lion’s mane, turkey tail, chaga etc., and it’s quality stuff from Vancouver Island. It’s cheap as hell and it does the job. They even have curated mixtures like a 14 mushroom blend.
When bought in bulk you can experiment with doses. I will sometimes do a 1:2 reishi, lion’s mane with upwards of 5g reishi, 10 g lion’s mane, and vise versa. I have tried several different combinations, along with things like L-Theanine, Quercetin, L-Tyrosine, green tea extract, rhodiola, ashwagandha etc – and I’m just a dumb hobbyist. I think I have experimented more in my kitchen than HAVN has.
A separate facility was purchased recently to act as their manufacturing hub, so this doesn’t appear to include the cost of scaling a product, but rather just for developing it.
These mushrooms have thousands of years of history behind them, what new discoveries or formulas did HAVN figure out?
I really can’t get past this one, folks.
The company’s branding has issues right down to its core. I get it, piles of stock images of people running and hiking on your website is cool, but, there is so much more to life. There’s also confusion around pronunciation. Is it ‘Havin’ or ‘Haven’? Any brand agency worth its salt would tell you day one, the name is confusing. There’s about a 50% chance someone is going to fuck your name up. Pick another name or buy a vowel.
HAVN chairman and former Aphria CEO Vic Neufeld went on the James West Midas Letter last year for an interview and this was the first thing that came up.
West says “Havin’ Life”, which is how I read it, too.
Neufeld quickly retorts, saying “Haven Life Sciences, yup”.
I’m not a genius, but I feel “Having/Havin'” and “Life” fit well next to each other. It makes sense at least. When have you ever seen the words “Haven” and “Life” next to each other? It’s not at all implied.
This is basic branding. Never allow your audience to be confused like that, especially with a brand new company trying to build brand recognition. People’s attention spans nowadays are like insects. In passing, Havin and Haven could be two completely different companies.
Say them really fast together: Haven Havin, Havin Haven. Havin Haven, Haven Havin Haven.
I’m sure everyone who follows the cannabis sector remembers the whole Aphria (APHA.Q) debacle with their Jamaica and Colombia assets. There was a controversial short campaign by what looked like complete bullshiters. Low-budget Citron-type energy. Redditors from Jamaica and weed stock investors teamed together to prove Aphria did have in fact have assets in spots like Jamaica and Colombia.
In March the Company has entered into a letter of intent with nutraceutical company Hypha Wellness Jamaica Psilocybin (HWJP) towards jointly research how to make synthetic psilocybin. The Company believes that setting up operations in Jamaica will advance HAVN’s ability to optimize standardized quality-controlled production methods for naturally-derived psilocybin. If the reishi R&D numbers are any clue, psilocybin is going to be fucking expensive.
HAVN’s management is filled with ex. Aphria management, so the Jamaica move for HAVN wasn’t surprising. I’m sure it’s been on their radar. HAVN also said it’s ‘actively engaged in pursuing additional opportunities to collaborate with the scientific and business communities in Jamaica.’ Psilocybin mushrooms are legal in Jamaica, and several Canadian companies have made a push to try and leverage Jamaica’s legal status for value creation.
Their plan is to create synthetic psilocybin for clinical trials, how many times have we heard that? It seems there are more companies making synthetic psilocybin for clinical trials than there are active or proposed psilocybin trials.
In January the company purchased GCO Packaging and Manufacturing Ltd. (“GCO”), which operates a 16,000 sq/ft manufacturing, packaging, and distribution facility somewhere in British Columbia. The acquisition is expected to allow HAVN to accelerate and scale the production of its new formulations and products at a single location. Vertical integration.
GCO doesn’t have a website or a listed address or a Google profile or., look all ll I could find this Crunchbase link.
One angle I did find that was interesting was their partnership with veterans organization Hero’s Heart.
According to the organization,
With support and funding from Havn Life, Heroic Hearts will set up its Canadian counterpart in 2021, with the goal of obtaining charitable status in Canada. Heroic Hearts Canada will serve Canadian veterans through education and advocacy for increased access to psychedelic treatment options. Heroic Hearts Canada will also develop an observational study to explore the effects of psilocybin mushrooms on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The observational study is planned to begin in the summer of 2021 and will take place in a jurisdiction where psilocybin is not a controlled substance.
This is great stuff.
But it’s barely mentioned in any of HAVN’ss marketing materials. It’s a footnote buried beneath a sea of nihilistic drivel.
Ditch the mushroom powder, or, shelf that it’s been a big-ass investment. Go all-in on this. Jamaica is vibes, but this is really something to stick your flag in.