Cellular Goods (Cel AI)
Cellular Goods has this morning announced another major pivot in its strategy, just days after its former CEO, who himself attempted to diversify the brand’s operations away from beauty, left the company.
The LSE-listed skincare producer is now rebranding itself to ‘Cel AI’ (CLAI), and says it now intends to become the ‘premier AI recommendation agent for personalised skincare and beauty routines’.
It continued, that it plans to “build an active and engaged community of strategic brand ambassadors and beauty experts who offer scalable beauty advice and product recommendations that go well beyond the current Cel AI CBD offerings.”
This latest change in direction reflects major changes to the company’s management. Earlier this week, after more than a year as interim CEO for which he was paid an annual salary of £220k, Darcy Taylor announced his resignation, effective immediately.
Instead of appointing a direct replacement, Cel AI has appointed another cannabis industry newcomer Mr Edwards as Executive Director. This latest pivot plays to Mr Edwards strengths, having spent 20 years building companies in the technology space.
Since his appointment, Mr Edwards has purchased 8m shares in the company, 5.5m at 0.33p per share, and a further 2.5m at 0.43p per share, totalling a purchase of around £28k. This in large part has helped its stock jump 50% over the last week.
It has also seen its Co-Founder and former Chief Strategy Officer Alexis Abraham offload a major portion of his remaining stake in the company.
Its renewed focus on beauty retail comes just weeks after the publication of Cel AI’s annual results, which laid bare the company’s continued struggle to gain any sales traction for its CBD/CBG-based skincare products more than a year after launch, despite its ongoing investment in marketing.
On December 22, Cel AI published its financial figures for the year to August 31, 2023, revealing a loss of £3.3m on sales of just £67,236. This was, however, more than double the £28,904 it made in the previous year.
According to the company, the £3.3m loss (down from £6m year-on-year) is primarily a consequence of ‘one-time restructuring costs and M&A expenses’.
During the period, Cellular Goods acquired King Tide Carbon, a biosynthetic algae and seaweed carbon sequestration business, for £569,940. Its operating loss without this one-time expense is £2.7m, around 40x its income.
As of August 31, 2023, Cellular Goods reported ‘cash at bank’ of £1.7m, down from £4.3m a year earlier.
Mr Edwards commented: “The change of name announced today further solidifies our strategic shift in our operations to efficiency in all aspects of the business, including streamlining all operations and focusing on enterprise value increasing through an active and engaged community built on cutting edge AI technology.
“The high end beauty buying experience is ripe for disruption and it is very clear that our prospects and customers want us to provide them with a full suite of product recommendations and beauty ideas. We firmly believe that Artificial Intelligence can play a major role in scaling this recommendation engine.”
Similarly, cannabis investment company Pharma C announced during its interim results in December that it will now change its investment strategy to allow it to focus ‘on the emerging AI sector’.
While the company’s directors stated that they were ‘pleased with the progress’ made by its sole investee Product Earth, the ‘background of geopolitical instability and negative sentiment in the capital markets towards the medical cannabis industry’, had urged it to diversify its portfolio.
In light of this, following the approval of plans from investors during a board meeting in early December, Pharma C will amend its investment policy to consider ‘investments or businesses in the technology, fintech and AI sectors’.
Its chair Gavin Sathianathan said: “The Board recognises that there are uncertainties ahead in the markets, and the geopolitical situation remains complex in key areas of the world. With that said, the Board views the future within the medical cannabis industry with much optimism.
“Great businesses are built through trying times, and we are excited to be involved at the start of a new industry which can positively impact the lives of so many people. We will continue to keep shareholders abreast of our progress in the months ahead.”
In the six months to June 2023, the company significantly reduced its administrative expenses from £124k to £19k, and reported net assets of £201k, down from £347k year-on-year.
Days later, the company also announced that its shares had been restored to trading on the Aquis Exchange, following a disciplinary action in August 2023.
The company’s shares were suspended from trading after Pharma C was determined to have broken ‘Article 17 (1) of Market Abuse Regulation (and thus AQSE Rule 4.1) by failing to disclose information which would be relevant to an investor’s decision about the Company.’
This related to an announcement on June 30, 2022, made alongside its full year results, in which it said it had raised ‘£200,000 before expenses by way of a subscription’.
“The funds were not received by the due date. The Company failed to update the market on this, or on its ongoing attempts to secure the funding, until 18 November. From the beginning of July until mid-November 2022,” the notice said.
Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies
Cannabinoid biotech company Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies has filed a European patent application for its Programme 2.
As the company pushes ahead with clinical trials for its Programme 1, OCT is laying the groundwork to ‘safeguard its research’ and ‘protect the interest of its shareholders’ elsewhere in its portfolio.
Its second programme is initially targeted at treating Trigeminal Neuralgia, and the patent application filed by the Company is directed to a composition containing both Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
While it does not expect the patent to be granted for two to five years, once it is OCT will have ‘exclusive rights to the use, production, and sale of the composition’ for up to 20 years. The company hopes this will enable it to recoup investment spent on R&D.
‘Within the next year’ OCT says it also plans to file an international patent application for the same compound, and says it expects to file ‘several other patent applications’ directed at other aspects of its Programme 2 this year.
Rob Bennett, General Counsel and Company Secretary, said: “At OCTP, we are sharply focused on the importance of intellectual property and patents in safeguarding our research and development and protecting the interests of our shareholders.
“This European patent application further embeds our progress in relation to Programme 2’s potential, which initially targets Trigeminal Neuralgia.”