Exclusive Interview with Forian Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Adam Dublin
Forian Inc. (NASDAQ: FORA) offers software and analytics solutions to cannabis, government and healthcare customers. The company’s team brings experience from working in healthcare to this venture. Working with dispensaries is analogous to working with drug stores, and working with cannabis manufacturers is analogous to working with life sciences pharmaceutical manufacturers, according to Forian Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Adam Dublin. He sat down with New Cannabis Ventures to talk about the company’s solutions, acquisition strategy and pipeline.
Listen to the entire interview or read the summary below:
In the cannabis sector, Forian operates a point-of-sale system with BioTrack, and it offers a business intelligence tool: Cannalytics. The company has close to 1,000 dispensaries on its platform, according to Dublin. Earlier this year, Florida selected BioTrack as its track-and-trace system.
Forian’s healthcare solutions focus on leveraging analytics to provide customers with comprehensive insights into their patients and clinical outcomes. The company’s healthcare products also offer opportunities for cannabis operators. For example, medical cannabis operators can use Forian’s data analytics tools to understand how their products deliver on specific indications, such as sleep support or anxiety reduction.
The company works with a broad range of cannabis clients from large MSOs to mom-and-pop shops. Forian operates across the U.S. with a larger footprint on the East Coast versus the West Coast. On the government side of the business, it is currently in 13 states. It has approximately 50 customers for its healthcare business, including biotech companies, medical device companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Forian is excited about opportunities to drive further value for its customers. For example, the team has the capability to build applications that would help customers understand cannabis outcomes and how it can potentially reduce healthcare costs. Government users could use Forian’s solutions to track over time whether people are moving from opioid-based therapeutics to cannabinoid-based therapeutics, according to Dublin. The company is also looking to provide value to its customers through predictive analytics, giving them the tools to forecast revenue and outcomes.
A History in Healthcare
The Forian team has a long history in healthcare. Dublin has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare informatics. He has worked with large databases and patented technology to de-identify patients. This experience has helped him to build large-scale, privacy-compliant databases.
Dublin co-founded Forian with Max Wygod, Executive Chair of the company. They both previously worked at WebMD, and they have co-invested in a number of ventures together, according to Dublin. Forian’s CEO Daniel Barton brings his experience in pharmaceuticals and healthcare information management. Prior to joining Forian, he worked with health information technology company IQVIA. EVP and General Counsel Edward Spaniel, Jr. also comes to the team with experience at IQVIA, and Vice President of Corporate Development Jason Holden is another WebMD alum.
Together, the team brings extensive experience in health information management, as well as transactions. Forian’s team is well-suited to pursue both organic growth and acquisitions, according to Dublin.
Forian is on the lookout for deals with strategic synergy, whether they are in healthcare or cannabis. Any companies that help it to build out an analytics infrastructure and drive growth could be of interest. The team will consider how M&A could help grow its footprint on the commercial and regulatory sides of the cannabis space.
Like all cannabis industry players, Forian is considering the impact that federal legalization could have on its business. Legislative progress at the federal level, such as SAFE Banking, could mean more capital for cannabis companies and an expansion of Forian’s customer base.
Federal legalization of cannabis could open the door to cannabinoid-based clinical trials, and Forian’s platform could be a valuable tool for pharmaceutical biotech customers, according to Dublin. Forian would have tools that would generate insight into the patient journey through clinical trials.
Putting Capital to Work
At the end of 2021, Forian had $31.3 million in cash and equivalents on its balance sheet. The company is using that capital to build out the 2.0 version of its BioTrack platform and its Cannalytics platform. Unlike pharmaceuticals, cannabis does not have standard product classification. Forian is exploring how to build a product classification system for cannabis. On the healthcare side of the business, Forian is further investing in data. It recently acquired a database of 65 million covered lives. This data from health plans allows the company to explore more health economics and outcomes research. Additionally, Forian is investing in expanded sales and marketing to increase its reach in the market.
Over the years, Dublin and Wygod have built strong relationships with a number of institutional investors. Forian’s investors include players with a history in the cannabis market as well as new entrants to the space. The company has a strong capital base, and the team is comfortable with its ability to raise capital, according to Dublin.
The company’s approach to future fundraising will depend on what it has planned for the capital. Forian is looking to explore more strategic relationships with investors. Investors who bring capital to the table, as well as knowledge of drug development and the value of data, could help the company grow as it continues to use its products to build a bridge between cannabis and healthcare.
Pipeline and Growth Outlook
Forian is targeting $25.5 million to $27 million in revenue for 2022, and it is aiming to achieve positive cash flow in 2023. The company is confident in its strong pipeline and its portfolio of products, according to Dublin. The majority of Forian’s contracts are recurring-revenue contracts. As the company grows, the team carefully tracks the profitability of each of those contracts. Metrics like churn and new customer onboarding are also key.
The regulatory landscape is a challenge for Forian. The timing of new markets coming online is subject to change, impacting the number of cannabis licenses and the size of the market opportunity for Forian. The company’s team is also faced with the challenge of educating the industry about the value and return on investment for analytics. Lack of data normalization and standards are a challenge in the cannabis industry, according to Dublin. But he anticipates that the industry will continue to mature, and Forian will be ready to capitalize on the growing demand for data-driven products.
To learn more, visit the Forian website. Listen to the entire interview: