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American cannabis testing company EVIO buys 50% stake in Keystone Labs


May 15, 2018
By Justin Bellmore


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CEO of EVIO William Waldrop says he wants to fortify Keystone’s position as the dominant testing facility in Canada

EVIO Inc., an American cannabis testing, research and development company for the regulated cannabis industry, has bought a 50% stake in Keystone Labs Inc., less than a month after launching EVIO Canada, to oversee northern operations.

The Company’s EVIO Labs division operates coast-to-coast providing state-mandated ancillary services for safety and quality of the nation’s cannabis supply. 

The company plans to have 18 of its state-of-the-art testing facilities by year-end 2018. They are transferring their proprietary method of testing to Canada which can be deployed to serve LPs across the nation.

Keystone Labs Inc., located in Edmonton, Alberta, is a privately held Heath Canada accredited testing facility with a Good Manufacturing Practise (GMP) establishment license, and EVIO CEO William Waldrop said this was partly what drew his interest.

“They (Keystone Labs) are one of the few licensed controlled substance facilities in Canada, they’ve been providing pharmaceutical testing for 12 years, they have a GMP and they have been providing medical cannabis testing for the past 2 years, so they had the right fit,” Waldrop said.

“Their president Jordan MacDonald has the right passion, the right beliefs, and the right experience,” he said.

Many licensed producers, especially the big hitters, already have their own in-house testing and R&D, but Waldrop said he actually encourages clients to run some of their own operations, because his company’s job is to help them verify that their methods work.

“You need to find that right lab parter, a third-party confirming that your internal methods are sound, and that’s what’s good about Keystone having their GMP certification,” he said.

“It’s good to have a third party that can confirm what you’ve determined internally; that’s important from a consumer perspective and a shareholder perspective because they really need to be sure that the product is safe for consumption.”

Waldrop said he thinks the upcoming recreational rollout in Canada will require a whole new community of adopters of cannabis, and EVIO will help make sure that what they are consuming is exactly what was advertised.

A large step in securing that confidence and trust, is capitalizing on what people want or need.

Waldrop said successful operations will need to focus on two trends: delivery mechanisms, and identifying cannabinoids that help people.

“The first trend is ensuring homogeneity of products, determining the right delivery mechanisms whether its oral, suppository, transdermal, whatever it is – and making sure you’re getting accuracy and consistency in the dosing,” he said.

“The secondary trend is trying to find unique cannabinoids that are directly benefitting humans in the endocannabinoid system and addressing the specific symptoms that people are experiencing day-in and day-out.”

There’s a lot of subjective qualitative info out there, said Waldrop, but their goal is to get to the point where they get quantitative data, and Canada allows them to do that research that they cannot do in the US.