The Handheld Device That Will Revolutionize Cannabis Testing and Optimization, Daniel Yazbeck, CEO of CDx
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MyDx is a handheld device straight out of a Star Trek episode. Simply place a small amount of cannabis into it’s sensor and watch as your smart phone is illuminated with information about the plant. MyDx will provide information on: toxicity, cannabinoid profile, THC concentration and more.
Beyond reporting on various attributes of the plant, MyDx will also help you optimize what specifically you like about a plant so you can refine and optimize your medicinal or recreational experience.
If you are an accredited investor Daniel also shares how you can learn more about investing in his company CDx, Inc. Learn more at cdxlife.com
Get 10% of your MyDx and AquaDx at CannaInsider
Our next guest is developing a device straight out of Star Trek. The device will allow anybody to put a small amount of cannabis into a palm-sized device and get the whole profile of the plant including THC concentrations, toxicity profiles, and more. I am pleased to have on the show Daniel Yasbek, CEO of CDX. Welcome, Daniel.
Daniel: Thank you for having me.
Matthew: Daniel, this device is so crazy, I really want to get into it. But before we do, can you give us a little background on yourself and why you started CDX?
Daniel: Well, where do I start? It's such a long story, and it's overwhelming. So I started my career at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. I lived in Canada most of my life. I graduated there. I went to Pfizer and helped them look at analytical - just ways to develop drugs really using enzymes. So from green chemistry to make pharmaceutical drugs, and I automated their labs.
And eventually I wanted to shift over to the business side so I went over to Panasonic because Pfizer didn't have a place for me at the time on that end and I just didn't the experience. Panasonic took me on. And I started creating new markets for Panasonic in the medical industry. So I took all my network and my experience from Pfizer and my understanding of science and technology, and I started implementing it into the diagnostics world. So I entered into the electronic devices that can diagnose disease and ailments.
And then right around the age of 30, I started learning more about cannabis, and studying it, and reading everything I could learn about it because I realized it has a profound effect on people's minds and bodies. And then quickly as I started understanding the industry more, and I became a medical cannabis patient myself. I started understanding the plant a little better.
It was obvious that this plant has an incredible effect on us, and I needed to understand more. So I couldn't. I'm a chemist. I need to understand the science, the chemistry behind what's happening. Why are these cannabinoids and terpenoids affecting our minds and bodies and how? And I needed to hone in on it. And then I watched the movie called limitless with Bradley Cooper.
Daniel: I don't know if you've seen that movie.
Matthew: I have.
Daniel: He takes the MVP pill and then becomes 10 - 12 percent smarter. And it was at that moment that - and then he hones in on it right at the end where he paid a chemist $2 million to tweak it right at the spot so he can make the perfect plant.
It was my mission at the beginning - I've got to understand what's in this thing, and why it's doing this to me. And so, I took everything I learned at Pfizer and Panasonic and then we created CDx and MyDx, which is the first hand-held chemical analyzer to test everything you eat, drink, and inhale. And that's broad, right, but the bottom line is we're building a chemical analyzer. It's an electronic nose. It's something that sniffs chemicals from whatever you put in the sample chamber, eventually when you get.
So you're going to be able to sniff the chemicals in that sample, and it's going to tell you what it is. But more importantly, then you take our app, and that couples with the device, and then you're going to correlate how those chemicals made you feel. You're going to say this helped me alleviate this symptom, or this symptom, or make me fee this way, or this way and honing in on those feelings and ailments is a process that we've been going through.
But once you can do that, you can physically hone in on which specific chemicals are making you feel how, and save it to your profile, MyDx, my profile, my diagnostic is what it stands for. So that's what's going to enable us to - it's just empowering us to hone in on what's working for us and what's not. And then you mine your own database, and you mine it against other people's data. We're empowering ourselves to trust and verify what we put into our mind and body and more importantly tweak it from there so you can get the epilepsy patients that are contacting us who have children who are four or five years old, and they need a 20:1 THC to CDV ratio and a 3:1 is not working and a 6:1. And can they even trust what they're buying and selling from the dispensaries and what the labels are saying? We have every incentive in the world to put this out there, and we're very excited to do it. I've rambled on.
Matthew: No. That's a beautiful thing. And it will be possible at some point to have it so dialed in where you can say this is the profile of the plant that helps me as a recreational user or as a patient, and then you could even seen growers kind of developing strains based on those ideals.
Daniel: The chemical profiles, exactly. We call it total chemical profile, and that's what we've developed. It's not just about THC, CBD, and some of these things. It's about the total chemistry. It's all of it. We're sniffing all of it. And then we're going to optimize and improve it over time so we dial it in. I'm not saying it's dialed in now. I haven't hit my limitless dream, and we've created a website called Think Limitless to help educate people about cannabis. It's not ready yet. So give us a few minutes. I haven't had a chance to really optimize it. But the key is - you have to understand more. And we don't know enough. We don't know enough about it.
And the scientific community doesn't know because it's been deprived of research for so many years because of some law. You know what I mean, that somebody created at some point. So the bottom line is that we have to - it's no more. We have to study it. We have to understand it. And we have to give it to the world because they deserve it. It was given to us by God or whoever, so the bottom line is it should belong to the people. And our goal is to empower people to really get closer to this plant in a healthy way - especially medical patients.
Matthew: I love your passion around this. Now the MyDx technology, some of it came from the NASA jet propulsion laboratory. Could you describe what came from the jet propulsion laboratory? What exactly is going on in this device? It sounds so crazy, a digital nose. But help us understand that better.
Daniel: So an electronic nose - so the human nose has, I don't remember the exact amount of sensors. Let's say 10,000 sensors. But a dogs nose has much more sensors. It's insignificant the amount. The point is the more sensors you have in your nose, the more things you can analyze. What we've done is we've basically taken the same concept that a human nose or a dog's nose has, which it's got many sensors on the surface of the nose.
And then those sensors react differently to different smells, and then they generate a pattern. And that pattern gets recognized as a strawberry or fish or you know what I mean. When you're born, you train your nose what is what. So what is a strawberry when you're born? You don't know. Your mother tells you, right. So we did the same technology, we took - all we did was we created sensors - an array of sensors on a digital board that will read those the response of those sensors towards different chemicals that present. And we analyze that sensor's response with very highly sensitive, low-noise, circitry in terms of the electronics that will read the sensors based on what you just exposed them to, and they're sniffing with palm part. When you sniff you - we basically built an electronic nose that sniffs chemicals and tells you what's in based on the other end, which is pattern recognition, algorythyms, data, big data.
So we look at everything under the sun. We know what a THC, CBD, everything else smells like. We can just train our sensor to smell things that we tell it to smell. It's like taining a dog to sniff out chemicals like kariotholene (ph) or something in cannabis, and that' what they're trained to sniff out specific chemicals. That's why they're very sensitive to it. So it's the same way.
We've taken that technology. We've licensed that technology. It's been around for about 20 years now, and it's been optimized. We chose to work with the the most advanced. Our technology is out of Cal Tech in California. It's the Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and that was about 15 years ago from the Lewis Group. Some of the folks who were working in that group since started their company has licensed a lot of that technology. We've partnered with them. We've licensed for our applications what we need to do, and we've developed a hand held version of what everybody has had in the lab for so long.
Matthew: Now is the MyDx - how big is the device? Is it the palm of my hand?
Daniel: It's in the palm of your hand.
Matthew: Okay. It's in the palm of my hand.
Daniel: If you take two iPhones and stack them, it's about that size.
Matthew: Okay. And so, I think -
Daniel: It may be a little bit wider - a little bit wider but not much.
Matthew: I have the MyDx in my hand, let's say. How much of a sample of cannabis do I need to put in the MyDx to get an accurate result?
Daniel: So currently we're at 50 milligrams. So you have to put in 50 milligrams of sample to get a result that is accurate within the variances that we've established for the first application. We're trying to drive that down. We're testing now at 25. We're going higher. We're looking at sensitivities, the cost of a sensors now, what's better, but at 50 milligrams that what our sensors have been ran at. So far it's been working.
Matthew: Okay. So the little chamber is about 50 milligrams in size you know how much to put in?
Daniel: It's bigger than that. There's a line - there will be a fill line. There's a fill line that tells you where to fill it to. Now we are looking at a process where we just simply puncture the cannabis, and it's enough. So you might not even have to grind. So by Christmas, we'll be completely chosen. For right now the 50 milligrams ground samples you have to put inside your device. You close the sample chamber. It's connected to your blue tooth to your app on IOS or Android device, you push measure, and in approximately one and a half minutes you can have your answer.
Matthew: Okay. So it syncs with your phone via blue tooth?
Matthew: And how much training do you think is necessary? Is it something that you can just learn like that, you pick up, or do you have to go through some sort of video training to understand how to use the device?
Daniel: It's so simple. We've dumbed it down where you just - I mean literally you're putting a sample in a sample chamber; you close it. They're disposable, so basically you put the sample in the disposable, you close the sample chamber and push start. And the blue tooth is like any blue tooth, so if you're going to connect your blue tooth device to your car - some people have trouble with blue tooth, but we have a customer service staff available to help people trouble shoot anything they have because we understand we might need to hand some folks on the blue tooth issue or something else. I mean, it's a new technology so we've beefed up on our customer service division to just be ready to hand hold people to make sure they get it right.
Matthew: Sure. That makes sense. Now what is the name of the software that works with the device for the cannabis industry is called CannaDx; is that correct?
Daniel: So here's how it works. Basically we have interchangeable sensors for various applications, right. So you have a handheld multi-use device. This is the MyDx unit. It's like your phone, right. And then basically it's like a phone. This what we hope this will be one day, another phone that people will carry around with them. It's a chemical analyzer. Whenever I walk around I want to check chemicals in my water, chemicals in my food, chemicals in the air I breathe and the safety and potency of my cannabis samples. So basically we want to - and the way you do that is you swap the sensors. So one sensor is made for organa, that's for the pesticides in food and agua for the chemicals in water, and aero, is another sensor. And then canna is the canna Dx. So the app goes with the sensor, the app will work with that sensor to analyze what you need to analyze.
Matthew: So how does the MyDx analyzer replace or compliment existing lab tests? Now when a grower wants their cannabis tested, they send a sample off to a lab - a traditional lab where a battery of tests is run. How is MyDx different or similar or better?
Daniel: Well, it's not better. The central labs have better quality data than MyDx will produce inherently. We're trying to take a $100,000 to $150,000 piece of lab equipment and miniaturize it into a $699 or $599 device in the palm of your hand. It's a lab in the palm of your hands. Our accuracy will not be as accurate as the central labs because there's a process, a workup. They charge you $50 or $60 a sample to run and for good reason because they have to actually pay the technicians in the lab to actually run the very specific test that needs to be done on an expensive piece of equipment to run it, and then analyze the data, and spit it back to you. We're a first level screen. We're going to be a total chemical profile. You're sniffing it from a different angle.
Daniel: And you're still sniffing all the terpenes and the cannabinoids, and you're still quantifying them all. But the accuracy level is not going to be as accurate as GC. Not at least for a few years. Now in a few years I'm not going to say we're not going to beat that, but right now conventional lab equipment has better accuracy than the MyDx unit will have.
The relevance - this answers your other question. When a lab tells you 18 percent PHC and 1 percent CBD, okay. But you have to - there's more to it than that, and then there's a 12 chemical profile component. So we're approaching it from a different dimension, a different angle. So I think we're complimentary. My colleagues in the central lab space are an important part of our success because they are the ones testing, analyzing, bringing clarity to what it is, and they're going to advance the science either way. So for me, I hope to work with all of them to help us populate the MyDx database.
We actually have a central lab partner, AZ Med testing. And they have - our sensor works side by side with their GC units because we need the lab tested data to make the MyDx data more powerful and better and more accurate.
Matthew: That makes sense. Right, now the MyDx device is a more of a high level screen and a traditional lab would be more granular, but your focus is not so much to replace the traditional lab as to help people using MyDx dial into exactly the profile of the plant that's optimal for their needs.
Daniel: That is correct.
Matthew: So let's say I'm a grower, and I have the MyDx. It's out of beta and it's working. Is it something that they're going to sample as the plant grows, or do you suggest wait until it's mature, and we've cut off the buds and dried them?
Daniel: No, definitely as the plant grows. I would definitely do it as the plant grows, so you can see the chemical profile and then define the optimal time for harvest based on the ideal chemical profile you need. Remember, we're still going to help you quantify THC and CBD and some of the other chemicals, if that's what you're interested, but not to the accuracy of the labs.
So the bottomline is if that's what you care about fine, but the total chemcial profile is critical. It's actually even more critical now because you're going to see the spectrum change, and you will dial in because then you can harvest at that moment, and you can test your plant and see did it result in a better or worse effect based on some focus group you might have or whatever it may be.
And then you can use our app to check the data because our app is a tracking system. You can use our app today without our device. The device comes in later. Just the app alone allows you track what you're doing. So right now today I use our app every day. I use our app because I track everything I do at the lab. What did you just intake? All my stuff is tested. So even when I buy it from the central lab, I just take a sample ID that's associated with that test, and I plug it into the app. And then it pulls up the chemical profile on the backend or I just manually put in, I know this thing has 19 percent THC, 2 percent CBD, and here's how it makes me feel. And I start - I've already started before the MyDx even is out because I need to start tracking what's working for me and then, of course, all these samples we also test over MyDx. So the key is you want to be able to - so you can track today at least because everybody - it's hard to track right now. I mean, nobody even tracks; do they what they're doing?
Matthew: This is really moving into the quantified self-movement where it's like fit bits and some of these other sleep pattern technologies that really help you look at your behavior that optimized your life. In this case, your life with specific medicines or recreational use of cannabis. I understand it's much better now.
Daniel: Exactly. That is exactly where we're coming from. It's funny you said that. We're in a quantified health (indiscernible) ideal thing, and medical patients especially because they need to quantify. If they don't, they can't operate. And now the medical community, and that's our core focus at this time, but yeah, go ahead.
Matthew: I see this as being a great tool for regulators that are trying to get a handle on regulating undesirable qualities of plants while regulating the desireable parts as well. So consumers and patients are protected. How do you envision regulators using MyDx?
Daniel: Regulators, yeah, it's one of our target markets. They need to be able to track batch to batch, even product lots movement of product, if they needed to. You scan it. Every single plant gives you a very unique signature finger print. You'll know exactly which one it is. Not just some label, and you can approach it that way.
In terms of DUI content, we haven't validated application yet, but it's on our radar in terms of looking, taking saliva samples, or - I don't think anybody's accepted the fact whether somebody can breathe into - you can't do a Breathalyzer test for cannabis today. So it's not - I don't think it's an accepted technology. Right now you have to take a blood test or even a saliva test in some cases.
So we - it's funny. We saw a picture of this big electronic nose in one of these articles at one point where this cop was holding it, and it was like smelling cannabis from far away. That was an idea. We're actually building that in a hand held. But anyway it's on our radar but we have to validate it. It's all in appliction development right now. Our focus is to stay focused, flower, making sure that's a start, even concentrates, everything is time consuming for us, and we're growing. We're still a start up. We're raising money, we're hiring more people. But we have to grow smartly, and so there's so much we want to do, but we just have to do it step by step.
Matthew: Sure. That makes sense. This is truly an ambitious technology that you're developing, so kudos to to you. Is there a price range for what MyDx will cost when it cones out?
Daniel: Definitely. It's $5.99 for the MyDx for cannabis, and that's just for one application, one sensor, and it's the $6.99 for MyDx multi-use. Now the first sensor we're putting out there is the canna sensor, and that goes with the canna application. So that's $6.99. If you want to be able to interchange sensors when we come out with the Organa March of next year, and then you have the Aqua and the Aero. Then you'd have to buy the interchangeable device, which is $100 more.
Matthew: Yeah, we're definitely talking about just cannabis on this show today, but the device can do so much more than that with the water and the air, so that's definitely something to look at. Is there anybody using it in a commercial setting right now or or is it all still in your research and development laboratory?
Daniel: No. No comerercial use yet. It's all in our laboratories.
Matthew: Are there patents pending around this technology or is it not patentable?
Daniel: No. No, definitely. It's all patented. We've licensed over a 100 patents that we have to maintain. So it costs a lot of money. And then on top of that, we added our own IP, which we added to it. I don't want to discuss the details but basically so there's a pleasant - there's a series of patents we've filed. CDx has filed a PCG application that's going to go into 130 countries around this device. So apart from the IP that we've licensed, and then the trade secrets that we maintain on the sensor side, which makes sure that we're building a business and we have to protect it. So we have our protections in place, but at the same time we want to launch a good product we can be proud of like Steve Jobs.
Matthew: Sure. When will MyDx be available?
Daniel: So Christmas our beta units go out to our beta customers, who ordered on Indigogo (ph). So they're the first people to back us and support us, and they got a discounted rate, but they were very early. And so, they're the first. And they are becoming our beta testers. That's going to be in Christmas and then with that feedback, anything that goes wrong within the field when it's tested, we're rigorously testing between now and Christmas in our labs, and we're populting our database extensively. So at this time I'm testing sensor-to-sensor variation. We take 100 sensors, look at the variation across the board. It's a tight schedule, but we're going to meet our beta customers in Christmas, and then in March it should be generally available for the public.
Matthew: And you said it's available in March. Can you preorder even though it's not -
Daniel: Yes. Whoever preorders gets it first. You can go on our website, and you can preorder it there.
Matthew: How long do you expect the beta testing phase to last?
Daniel: It's about a month to a month and a half. So by March we would turn around and make the modifications required. Now we've already gone through rigorous iterations of this device to kind of tweak. There's always going to be tweaking. There's going to be MyDx1 and then MyDx2 like an iPhone1 and iPhone2, and the next one will be better than the next one. So this is the process that we're approaching it as because there's so many things. Somebody wants a scale on it, so you can weigh. Things like this - I mean, it's a good idea. So you're always going to have the next versions, but initially the beta testing should take a month, and then we should be deployed again in available in March.
Matthew: Okay. And will the MyDx integrate with any other platforms out there?
Daniel: So we've already been working with MJ Freeway in terms of their ATI because they have access to inventories, and our app can actually tie into their app, so we're working on that front. And then with Weedmaps as well we are discussing all the details that we can do to actually help people find the strains once they identify what they need or the strain profile.
It's a collaborative effort. We can't do it alone. We're working with as many people in the industry as we can. Our goal was still the same - help you tweak and identify the perfect strain profile for you and then find a way to get it somewhere. Half of the battle is identifying it. Then how do you get it? So our goal is to empower anybody in the industry who is going to allow people feel how they want to feel when they want to feel it.
Matthew: Sure. Now is there still opportunities to invest in MyDX?
Daniel: Definitely. We have our second half of our series B round right now. So if there is anybody interested they can just send an email to Skip S-K-I-P @CDxlife.com. And he will definitely be able to help you. He'll reach out to you, and you can coordinate.
Matthew: I'm sure that's for accredited investors?
Daniel: That is correct. We have an investment bank representing us and - but investors are investors. And if people are interested in investing, there's always an opportunity for accredited investors based on the fact that we're a venture company.
Matthew: Daniel, as we close, how can listeners learn more about CDx and follow your work?
Daniel: CDxlife.com, and stay tuned. There's a lot more coming, and we have a character called Molecule that we're introducing that's going to dumb down the science and technology and make it very simple for you to learn and understand. So this sites being updated as well. There's a lot of good things coming. Bear with us and this is just the beginning for us.
Matthew: Great. Thanks again to Daniel Yazbek, CEO of CDx. Thanks for being on the show today, Daniel.
Daniel: Thank you, Matt. I appreciate it.