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How New York’s marijuana dosing requirements could create a valuable big data industry

Jun 19, 2015, 2:45pm EDT

Michael del Castillo

New York Business Journal

 

When the state of New York hands out five licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana sometime next month, one of the requirements for those dispensing the drug will be metered dosing similar to how other pharmaceutical industries operate.

An executive of at one of 43 companies to applyfor the license says that dosage requirement could lead to a new era of marijuana big data that will change the way we think about cannabis.

“We’ve had legal cannabis for over 17 years in California and we have zero usable clinical data, because it’s got to be pegged to a dose,” said Andrei Bogulubov, executive vice president of Long Island-based PalliaTech, during a conversation yesterday at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition at the Javits Center.

“New York will start immediately. When you say, ‘How did it work?’ You’ve got data, you’ve been practicing the science of this. It’s profound.” PalliaTech has spent the past two years and spent about $2 million developing the PT1000, a medical grade vaporizer that Bogulubov says meets the state’s pharmaceutical-level requirement that the actual ingredients of each dose be no more than five percent off the posted ingredients.

“Doctors do not give you a bag of heart medicine in powdered form and say, ‘See how this works,’” said Bogulubov. “They have to treat to the dose response curve,” the change in effect on a user based on varying amounts of the medicine. With patents in the United States, Canada, and Europe, the PT1000, is also designed to ensure the dose never combusts, a key factor for very-sick patients, he said.

To meet the pharmaceutical grade requirements, PalliaTech, which was founded in 2009 and incorporated a year later, has leased a former Pfizer manufacturing facility in Chazy, N.Y., which has undergone a $65 million renovation, one of the few “plug and play” options available in the state, he said. “We will walk in, plug in our equipment, set up our labs and manufacturing processes, and our indoor grow, and get to work.” The first product could be available by January, assuming the company wins one of the five licenses.

But PalliaTech has some fierce competition. Y5RX is another of the 43 companies which applied for the license. They already have disposable "vape sticks" for both indica and sativa cannabis plants, which will eventually be sold individually or in packs of 25, once they go on sale. For now, the company, which was also at the Cannabis World Congress, directs interested parties to contact them via email if interested. Plus, they sell snowboards for $899.

While the prospect of large amounts of data tied to doses is certainly exciting, it’s not the first valuable data generated by the legal marijuana industry, according to a report earlier this year in Marijuana Business Daily. Colorado and Washington have both employed an RFID tracking system to monitor and control production, to create “seed-to-sale” analytics, with retail and marketing numbers also being tracked.

Bogulubov didn’t share details about how his company was capitalized other than to say they were “pretty-well funded,” from a “large investor-base” comprised of Angel backers who tend to be principals of large SEC-registered broker-dealers. Bogulubov said the investors “love the idea, but they can’t invest as the institution,” due to the possible stigma of backing a marijuana company

The winners of the five licenses will also be allowed to open four stores each, which means the entire state of New York will have a maximum of 20 legal medical marijuana dispensaries. Earlier this month, PalliaTech revealed it already had lined up leases for four stores, one each in Brooklyn, Utica, Rochester and Newburgh. Though the state has said the licenses will be granted in July, Bogulubov told me he expects it will be “sooner rather than later.”