Founders' Letter

Aubrey grew up stuffing envelopes at the age of 5 at his father’s pharmaceutical company, Novopharm Limited, and learned the business from the ground up. Pills run in his blood so to speak; over the years he became an executive of the company and eventually ran its sales department. Peter worked for Novopharm and its successor Teva Pharmaceuticals for over 25 years in a variety of progressively senior roles including as Vice-President, Global R&D Project Management and was ultimately responsible for the successful integration of Novopharm with Teva. Since we first met in 1984, we have shared ideas and collaborated on the pharmaceutical industry and its future.

EmpowerPharm is not a cannabis company and is not involved in the recreational cannabis market in Canada. However, it was through witnessing the growth of the nascent cannabis industry and the lack of pharmaceutical expertise and focus that we came to believe that we could do something better. With mounting anecdotal evidence indicating that CBD (cannabidiol) would be beneficial for anxiety, stress, pain, and insomnia, we became convinced that we were uniquely positioned to create a global pharmaceutical leader with a focus on CBD therapeutic products and a mission to be a disruptive force for good by creating more effective pharmaceutical treatments without the addictive side effects of traditional therapeutic drug classes. We believe we can empower people to make the right health choices. Our vision was, and remains today, to pharmaceuticalize CBD into a tablet/capsule that is manufactured in a GMP pharmaceutical facility that has all the appropriate quality and control systems in place. Ensuring batch to batch standardization and most importantly, quality remains our top priority.

In just three short years we are well on our way to accomplishing our goal. We took an existing pharmaceutical packaging plant and stripped it down to its bare bones and built a state-of-the-art GMP manufacturing and R&D facility for solid oral dosages in Burlington, Ontario. This is the first Canadian dedicated pharmaceutical GMP plant designed for the production of prescription CBD tablets that has received its Drug Establishment Licence (“DEL”). We have also received all of our necessary Health Canada licences and are currently regulated by the Cannabis and Food & Drug Acts by Health Canada.

Our initial product candidate is a prescription drug aptly named Empower CBDTM which utilizes synthetic CBD for the treatment of anxiety. According to the World Health Organization, as many as 10% of the global population suffer from anxiety. In Canada and the United States, that number is estimated to be even higher at over 30% and is getting worse as we suffer from the collateral damage of COVID-19, which has affected people of all ages and walks of life. Empower CBD™ is expected to be a first-of-its-kind prescription tablet containing synthetic CBD to treat anxiety. In the last 20 years, there has been no new anxiety blockbusters developed by the pharmaceutical industry. Empower CBDTM tablets will be 99% pure with zero Tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and will provide superior standardization and stability without the serious potential side effects associated with current prescription drugs.  We recently completed a Phase I pharmacokinetics and comparative bioavailability study of Empower CBD™ and we are preparing for a Phase II trial with patient dosing expected in 2022. We plan to complete controlled double-blind cross over clinical studies to prove the efficacy of Empower CBDTM so it can be approved as a prescription drug in Canada, the United States and globally. We believe that Empower CBDTM will be an effective non-addictive alternative to current comparable pharmaceutical products and will displace and disrupt antidepressants and other traditional therapeutic drug classes in the $45 billion global marketplace. 

Most importantly, we have brought together a cohesive and experienced team that shares our vision.  Our Vice-Chair, Jack Kay, has over 55 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry including almost 25 years as President and CEO of Apotex Inc. Our Chief Scientific and Quality Officer, Tamas Szederkenyi, has over 35 of progressive experience with early stage, global generic, and international branded pharmaceutical companies. In addition to his expertise with drug product related Research, Development and Quality, he has also gained extensive experience with drug substance synthesis, process development, scale up and pilot plant operations.

 We have also brought together a world class Medical Advisory Board and Clinical Advisory Board of renowned physicians, psychiatrists, academics, and field experts from Canada and abroad that together have over 500 years of relevant experience. 

Our team is passionate about our mission – to become a world class pharmaceutical company known for its research, development and manufacturing expertise and the commercialization of safe and effective medicines of uncompromising quality that empower people’s lives. We will continue to pursue this mission though our core values focusing on:

  • Product innovation;
  • Development of a portfolio of quality, pharmaceutical grade products;
  • Commitment to patient health and improving the quality of life for those seeking therapeutic choices; and
  • Empowering individuals to make the right health choices.

We also believe that there is a need for industry leadership in confronting the clear and present perils of the opioid crisis and that CBD has the potential to be an effective alternative solution. This belief has led us to create the Complementary Medicine Research & Addiction Foundation (“CMRAF”). EmpowerPharm shares the foundation’s goal of identifying alternatives to prescribing opioid and benzodiazepines drugs, and EmpowerPharm’s research and development team is committed to helping those most in need. To support the CMRAF, we’ve both committed to personally donate 10% of our founder shares to the CMRAF to help fund research at academic institutions to address other indications, as well as not-for-profit organizations and to help those suffering from the opioid crisis and other drug addictions. We believe in empowering others and that in giving back, we can have a positive social impact on society.

It is with gratitude that we share the accomplishments of our team, but we are just scratching the surface of our potential – there is much to be done and much more for us to accomplish. All of us at EmpowerPharm invite you to join our vision to Empower healthier lives by elevating the quality and choices of available pharmaceutical products.

Aubrey Dan

Chairman, Co-CEO & Co-Founder

Peter Billaert

President, Co-CEO & Co-Founder