12 Sep 2018

Devising next-generation products and the unmet needs of non-traditional cannabis consumers

Devising next-generation products and the unmet needs of non-traditional cannabis consumers

VP of Product Development Dorothy “Dot” Colagiovanni

Devising next-generation products geared towards the unmet needs of non-traditional cannabis consumers.

“I like to think that we’re a part of  ‘Cannabis 2.0’ at this point,” says Colagiovanni.


Colagiovanni considers “Cannabis 1.0” to include smoked cannabis, baked goods, products sometimes manufactured haphazardly; whereas, Next Frontier Biosciences has developed a line of products, called Verra Wellness, which includes topicals, sublingual sprays, and — perhaps most uniquely — nasal sprays.


The company doesn’t make the products itself; that’s done by third-party manufacturer, RMZ Colorado, which is licensed in Colorado to make marijuana-infused goods. Colagiovanni describes Next Frontier Biosciences as “an IP holding company and brand management company.” At its Westminster lab, Colagiovanni is doing R&D work on formulating pills and effervescent tablets, which will eventually contain cannabis. (There’s no cannabis present for research use at Next Frontier’s lab.)


The company’s slogan is “Where Biotech Meets Cannabis.” Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Paul Johnson spent “40 years in biotech in nasal drug development, particularly, with over 100 patents to his name — so, a lot of experience in that area,” says Colagiovanni. She adds, “Our scientific team is [made up of] analytical chemists and chemical engineers.”

See more at the Company Week article.

29 May 2018

Cannabis Science

Cannabis Science

Cannabis Science

Depending upon your industry perspective, when I use the term “cannabis science” you may be thinking of optimal plant growth conditions, the latest extraction techniques, or manufacturing technology. Cannabis science is broadly used and has many applications.


From my perspective, cannabis science relates to the interactions that take place in the body following consumption of a cannabinoid-containing product. By definition, a cannabinoid is a substance that binds to a specific cannabinoid receptor and can be produced in one of three ways: it can be produced in the body, derived from plants, or chemically.


The focus of this article is on the “why and how” that enables cannabis to act in the body.


The Endocannabinoid System

Why cannabis is able to cause biological effects because of the endocannabinoid system (or ECS). Only identified in the last 20 years, The ECS is increasingly recognized as essential to maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in the body. Detected in diverse species ranging from mushrooms to rats to humans, the ECS plays critical roles for regulating mood, sleep, pain and inflammation.


The components of the ECS include the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, the endocannabinoids that bind to the receptors, including Anandamide, NADA and 2AG, and the enzymes that synthesize and degrade these compounds. It is a “lock and key” system that allows only certain keys to open the locks and initiate a cascade of effects.  Each endocannabinoid binds differently to the receptors to activate or inhibit their responses. The pieces of the ECS work together to synthesize the endocannabinoids “on demand” and transmit chemical messages between cells.

Why Does Cannabis Alter My Brain?

17 Apr 2018

Next Frontier Biosciences Expands Verra Wellness Product Lines into California via Partnership with BAS Research

DENVER, April 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Next Frontier Biosciences, a Colorado-based cannabis drug development and commercialization firm, today announced a partnership with BAS Research to bring its Verra Wellness line of premium cannabis-infused products to the California medical and adult-use marijuana markets. The Verra Wellness line of sublingual sprays and topical salves are anticipated to be available in California by Q3 2018.


“Expanding into California allows Next Frontier Biosciences to tap into the state’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry–gaining access to what is projected to be the world’s largest legal cannabis market,” said Marc Graboyes, Co-Founder and CEO of Next Frontier Biosciences. “Our cutting-edge Verra Wellness products are designed to meet the California market’s need for clean, consistent and trustworthy products that allow consumers the ability to manage their dose. Our partner, BAS Research, shares this vision for the industry’s future and we are excited to work together to pursue our mutual goal of providing consumers with best-in-class cannabis products that are safe, effective and discreet.”


Read more PRN Newswire site.

11 Apr 2018

It’s All in the Delivery

It’s All in the Delivery: Cannabis Consumption and Emerging Technologies

by Dr. Dorothy Colagiovanni, VP Product Development, Next Frontier Biosciences

The cannabis industry is rapidly evolving, with new brands and products launching every week. For both new and regular consumers alike, the sheer number of options when walking into a dispensary can be intimidating. As additional states legalize adult MJ use, it is crucial for consumers to learn about cannabis delivery technologies.  Scientists and manufacturers have created numerous ways to enjoy the cannabis plant.  Learning about the advantages and disadvantages of each offering can help to more easily navigate the dispensary to find the best choice for your unique needs and lifestyle. Below is a brief outline of the available cannabis delivery methods, meant to serve as a guide to better understanding how each one works with accompanying strengths and weaknesses.

Smokable Products

For decades marijuana use has been associated with smoking, and although this is no longer the only way to enjoy the benefits of the plant, it is still a very popular method. When the flower of the female cannabis plant is heated THCa is converted to THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.  The effects are experienced quickly, whether using a pipe, bong or joint.  New devices can even convert water bottles instantly into single use bongs. Smoking methods can, however, lead to long-term lung problems, including bronchitis. The instant effects and relatively low-cost make smoking a tempting option compared to other delivery methods; however, consumers should bear in mind potential health impacts.

Read more at the Cannabis Business Executive site

21 Mar 2018

Elevate your Recovery Game

Elevate Your Recovery Game

by Dorothy Colagiovanni, VP of Product Development, Verra Wellness

Sensi February 2018 Denver Boulder editionWinter sports enthusiasts are abuzz about the latest trend taking the wellness world by “Snow” Storm: Cannabis-infused salves for the skin. Since hitting the shelves, these products have been lauded among snowriders as an effective way to find localized relief from the common muscle aches and pains that often plague them after a long day on the slopes.

These skin products deeply penetrate the tissue to provide relief for aching feet, backs, and shoulders. Could this mark the next revolution in athletic recovery?

For many who have turned to topicals as an alternative to prescription painkillers, the answer is a resounding yes! Already, these products are helping to shatter the negative stigma long associated with cannabis consumption as the industry trades in the dated and inaccurate “lazy stoner” stereotype for the new, fresh image of the canna-athlete. Previously held notions of the typical cannabis consumer are rapidly evolving as more individuals discover the plant’s unique therapeutic potential that may lend itself to relieving soreness and tension.

Read more in the Special Advisory Section, page 102, February 2018 issue of Sensi Magazine.

21 Mar 2018

Cannabis Business Executive: Inside a Cannabis Science Lab

What Really Goes into Chemical Formulation and Product Development?

By Dr. Dot Colagiovanni, VP Product Development, Next Frontier Biosciences

As the cannabis industry matures it is becoming increasingly sophisticated.  However, despite significant progress, there remain distinct knowledge gaps in cannabis science and technology.  Many products are produced in facilities that lack appropriate equipment for chemical formulation. Much of this stems from the unfortunate fact that as an industry, we are resource limited for capital equipment thus hindering our ability to conduct research and product testing. That said, there are a number of established methods in place for producing safer, more consistent and trustworthy products if the expenses are warranted.


Lab Best Practices

Our team includes analytical chemists, chemical engineers and scientists working together in a dedicated laboratory facility.  We have weekly lab meetings to review our experiments and results; we use electronic notebooks to capture our data and we read the scientific literature to remain informed as to progress in the field of cannabis research.

We employ standard procedures used in academic and pharmaceutical industry labs to create formulations optimized for lipophilic substances, such as the cannabinoids. Two techniques allow us to readily assess cannabis products: high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry (MS). HPLC is a technique in analytical chemistry used to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. It relies on pumps to pass a pressurized liquid solvent containing the sample mixture through a column filled with a solid adsorbent material. Each component in the sample interacts slightly differently with the adsorbent material, causing different flow rates for the different components and leading to the separation of the components as they flow out of the column

Read more at the February 19, 2018 article in Cannabis Business Executive Industry News – Science and Technology section.

13 Feb 2018

Press Release: Next Frontier Biosciences Assembles Distinguished Research and Development Team

Press Release: Next Frontier Biosciences Assembles  Distinguished Research and Development Team


Next Frontier Biosciences Assembles

Distinguished Research and Development Team


Biotech company draws upon highly experienced scientists and researchers

to develop and commercialize best-in-class cannabis products


DENVER (February 13, 2018) – Colorado-based biotech company Next Frontier Biosciences today announced the assembly of its Research and Development Team, enhancing the company’s lineup of accomplished biotechnology executives and research scientists. After successfully launching its first generation Verra Wellness line of products in the Colorado adult-use and medical marijuana markets in November, the company is seeking to expand into emerging cannabis markets, both domestically and internationally, and plans to introduce at least two new products in 2018.


“Our Research and Development Team plays an integral role in creating new products and supporting our expansion strategy, including developing robust manufacturing processes, product specifications, and standard operating procedures” said Marc Graboyes, Co-Founder and CEO of Next Frontier Biosciences. “In turn, their work allows us to pursue valuable intellectual property rights and implement a broad-based licensing program wherein our proprietary formulations and brands are made available to third parties who possess the licenses and facilities required to manufacture, sell and distribute our best-in-class cannabis products in their respective markets.”


Leading the team is Paul Johnson, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Next Frontier Biosciences. “This group of bright, accomplished scientists and researchers is a major asset to Next Frontier and its Verra Wellness brand, fueling the continued growth of our product pipeline and propelling us into new emerging markets,” Dr. Johnson said.



Dr. Johnson has over four decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He is an expert in intranasal drug development and delivery systems, and has authored or invented over 100 patents and scientific publications. Dr. Johnson has substantial experience in drug delivery and development, molecular diagnostics, cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry/biophysics. In addition, he has led research and development activities for FDA approved drugs including Betaseron, the first-ever FDA approved drug to treat multiple sclerosis. He received a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the State University of New York, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and conducted his postdoctoral training in biophysics and biology under an American Cancer Society fellowship at the California Institute of Technology.



Dorothy “Dot” Colagiovanni, Ph.D. serves as Vice President of Product Development at Next Frontier Biosciences, where she is responsible for the day-to-day management of Next Frontier’s research and development activities as well as supporting the commercialization of the company’s products. She has over two decades of pharmaceutical development experience with an emphasis on project management, pharmacology and toxicology. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Colagiovanni held scientific leadership roles with Nivalis Therapeutics and Replidyne. She also held research positions with OSI Pharma, Gilead Sciences and Amgen. Dr. Colagiovanni has a broad range of development experience, starting from early drug discovery and clinical trials through regulatory approval and commercial launch. She completed her Ph.D. at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Molecular Toxicology and a postdoctoral fellowship at Amgen Boulder.


“Our ultimate objective is to make the benefits of cannabis more widely available through discreet, smoke-free delivery technologies. The desire to bring healthier and safer alternatives to the market is the common thread uniting our team and motivating our efforts in the lab every day,” Dr. Colagiovanni said. “Each member brings a unique area of expertise to the table, which lends itself to continued innovation–supporting our overarching goal at Next Frontier Biosciences.”


Stephen Cape, Ph.D., is Next Frontier’s Director of Formulation Sciences. Dr. Cape has more than 15 years of experience developing formulations of pharmaceuticals, biologicals and vaccines for alternative routes of delivery, including sublingual, nasal, transdermal and inhalation. Prior to joining Next Frontier, he held technical and project leadership roles at the University of Colorado and Aktiv-Dry LLC (Boulder, CO). Dr. Cape led the formulation and spray-drying process development of the first inhaled dry powder measles vaccine to successfully complete a Phase I clinical trial. He has broad experience in early-stage basic R&D, formulation and process development, and technology transfer for GMP manufacturing.


“It’s an exciting time to work in the emerging cannabis space, and our team is advancing Next Frontier Biosciences to the forefront of the cutting-edge research and development that will elevate the industry to a higher standard of scientific excellence,” Dr. Cape said. “The work we contribute in the lab will yield a positive, tangible impact as consumers find more consistent and reliable options with the comfort and flexibility to select their preferred method of administration.”


Kris Chupka, Next Frontier’s Director of Analytical Chemistry brings to the team over 18 years of research and development analytical experience from the electronics and pharmaceutical industries. His specialties are chromatographic separations, mass spectrometry and thermal mechanical analysis. Prior to joining Next Frontier Biosciences, Mr. Chupka held analytical chemistry leadership roles for Atotech, Novartis, Mylan and Western Digital. He has a proven track record in supportive analytical development from conceptual research and development to commercial product support.


“Our analytical capabilities–including a high resolution mass spectrometer–provide us with the ability to fully characterize all aspects of Next Frontier Biosciences products, from flower to filled device,” Mr. Chupka said. “Consumers can rest assured knowing that the Next Frontier Biosciences name represents a profound commitment to sophisticated, well-characterized products that are unmatched in quality.”



Susan Schwarz serves as Senior Analytical Chemist at Next Frontier Biosciences. Ms. Schwarz is a biotechnology professional with extensive experience in all stages of biopharmaceutical development from drug discovery to cGMP manufacturing. She has utilized numerous types of analytical instrumentation throughout her career. Ms. Schwarz has held positions from Quality Control Chemist (Somatogen) working with recombinant hemoglobin to Analytical Chemist (Takeda Vaccines) for process scale up (from 1L to 50L) and tech transfer of a norovirus vaccine using single-use technology to a contract manufacturing organization.


“The scalable process that results from our Research and Development team will serve to support our technology transfer and licensing program, ensuring that the Verra Wellness suite of purified cannabinoid-infused products can reach new demographics in new regions,” Ms. Schwarz said.



The newest member of the research team, Andres Gandara, joins as Formulation Scientist. A graduate of the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Mr. Gandara comes to Next Frontier Biosciences with a strong engineering and business background, having previously worked at Bayer CropScience in Guatemala, Transform Energy in Golden, and most recently at Custom Solar in Boulder.


“Next Frontier Biosciences is a proven leader in product innovation. Participating in the rigorous formulation process from beginning to end–all while playing an active role in bringing novel and effective cannabinoid-infused products to new markets–is extremely rewarding,” Mr. Gandara said.


Founded in 2014, Next Frontier Biosciences has assembled a team of highly experienced biotech executives and research scientists with over 120 years of pharmaceutical drug development experience. The company employs a traditional scientific approach to product development that includes advanced purification, analytical and chemical formulation methods. Next Frontier Biosciences’ proprietary formulations were carefully developed and optimized for improved delivery via nasal, sublingual and topical administration with a focus on providing unparalleled quality, consistency and reproducibility.


For more information or to schedule an interview with Next Frontier Biosciences, please contact Shawna McGregor at 917-971-7852 or shawna@rosengrouppr.com.


About Next Frontier Biosciences: At Next Frontier Biosciences, we believe that cannabinoid purification and scientific formulation are the keys to unlocking the power of the plant and developing safer and more effective cannabinoid-based products. Scientifically formulated to provide accurate dosing, improved bioavailability and optimized cannabinoid profiles, our Verra Wellness line of products, including nasal mists, sublingual sprays and topical salves, offer fast acting and consistent results. Additionally, their unique modes of administration are discreet and effective, providing both medical and adult-use cannabis consumers with desirable alternatives to smoking, vaporizing or eating cannabis-infused products. At Next Frontier Biosciences, we maintain an unyielding commitment to scientific excellence and integrity, so our products aren’t just created from cannabis—they’re derived from truth.


For more information, visit http://nextfrontierbio.com/. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.



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