Manna Molecular Wants To Help Women Orgasm

Debra Borchardt (Green Market Report):

Nial DeMena is the CEO of Manna Molecular and one of the cool things I learned about this company recently is that within Manna is another company called Vella. And it has a lot to do with products geared towards women and in particular, women and their sexuality. And I’m going to turn it over to Nial because Nial, you were telling me about some of the research that Manna had done, and that’s really what sets Manna Molecular apart. And my opinion is that this is a company that really heavily focuses on the science and they let the science take them wherever that goes.

Nial DeMena, CEO Manna Molecular:



Tell me how Vella came about?

Nial DeMena:

So Vella came about, we were looking for a second product. We did patches first and that’s a very niche product, a very high barrier to entry, and requires specialized knowledge. And we liked that method and we wanted to apply it to whatever our second product would be.  I had the good fortune of being asked to sponsor an event in LA and I said, “Yes.” And they had the former head of the FDA, David Kessler there and the host was this doctor, Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan. And as he was recruiting me just to sponsor his event, I got to talking with him and really liked him and just said, “Hey, you’ve had a really amazing background, what do you think about cannabinoids in women and sex?” And he was kind of interested in it and the more I talked to him, the more I convinced him that this would be a good idea. And I eventually ended up recruiting him to the company and we agreed to follow the same development pathway of Viagra and Cialis, two drugs that he was the principal investigator for.

And lo and behold, we’ve found in a study that there is a dose-response relationship to CBD and smooth muscle tissue relaxation of the vagina. And from there, we got really excited because that’s the same pathway that all these other drugs work for. And we went on to test it in 30 women, had a 90% success rate across four orgasm outcome measures, and a 16% success rate across two arousal measures, and this is a clinically validated instrument that we modified for our purpose. And then we tested it in a population of women that were taking different antidepressants and we found out that 100% of them were able to orgasm after they were not able to orgasm since going on their drugs.

So all of those things combined made us really excited to move forward and one really cool thing that we’re going to do more of is this photoplethysmography study where you look at temperature and electrical response using probes. And this is from Nicole Prause’s lab. So she’s featured in a lot of articles and we have a relationship with her. So we got an end of one on that, and that was very positive too. So through every indicator we took, we tried to disprove it and we just kept getting better and better responses.


This is a topical product, correct?

Nial DeMena:

We’re calling it a women’s pleasure serum and it’s a topical pre-placed serum for arousal and orgasm. So the idea is you put it on 20 or so minutes before you have any sexual activity and it causes relaxation down there and that allows enhanced sensation and engorgement. And these are hallmarks of a good sexual experience.


What other products are coming out of the Vella umbrella?

Nial DeMena:

Well I can’t say too much because there is a lot of IP, but I will say this: we have noticed the effect of the relaxation of smooth muscle. There’s smooth muscle intravaginally, there’s smooth muscle anally, so there’s a lot of interesting things that we can do but we really want to focus on women. We have two really awesome women executives Bobel Hoda and Carolyn Wheeler who we’re really lucky to have. And they’ve been amazing in helping us market this and all of our agency partners who we’ve been working with on the creative side; they’re all women too.

So we’re really excited to bring this to market as a separate standalone company and a separate standalone product. And we envision different products in that time sequence so we can have something pre-play like Vella, we can have something during and post. And then there’re other things that we can do to attack pain perhaps. So that’s what’s really exciting is that we’ve discovered a completely novel effect and we’re just application engineering at this point.


I’m so happy that you mentioned these female executives because that was something that we were seeing in the cannabis industry with some of these larger corporate companies where they were developing a female product, and it was kind of pinkwashing in a way where they would have very feminine looking product packages and then when you would look at the team behind that, it was just a marketing team and mostly made up of men.

So I love that you are clearly sensitive to the fact that you want to have women driving this bus because that’s just so important. For maybe our readers that aren’t as familiar with Manna Molecular, could you maybe talk a little bit about the company and the other products because I know them, but I just don’t think maybe our readers are as familiar with your company?

Nial DeMena:

Well, I think that’ll change pretty soon. We are in about twelve markets. We do some white labeling, although we’re really moving towards a strictly brand play because we’ve gotten the recognition that we’ve gotten. But we make transdermal patches and we developed a method where our business licensees and people that are state-licensed can basically kit our patches, take their extract, and apply it at the point of production and create a very high-quality repeatable product that’s the same across every state.

So while in California, we are selling patches under Papa & Barkley’s name, in a state like Ohio, we’re under our own name and that’s more common than not. So in about nine of the twelve, we’re under our own name. We’ve got about three white labels and right now in fact, we’ve just released a speed tab, which is a sublingual tablet that onsite is very quick and we think of it as an ultra-fast edible. And we think that that category, these units of gummies, they’re a great package for this but I think a fast tablet that tastes good. That’s another thing we wanted to do is we’re using naturally extracted terpenes and adding really cool flavors and effects to these so there’s something that you can use during the daytime to focus.

We’re making a CBN version, which we’ve gotten really, really good feedback on that to help people fall asleep and I know COVID has really messed with people’s sleep patterns. And we also have a CBD version and we’ll be making different ratios because it’s a fast-acting tablet and it lasts for about 60 to 90 minutes. So you can use it to get high, you can use it to treat your pain or inflammation with CBD, or you can use it to go to bed with CBN and that’s something that I’ve been using really recently and it’s certainly nice to have in your toolkit.


Well, I really liked the idea about the fast onset because that’s always been the real trick with edibles for people. You don’t know whether it’s going to take an effect in a half-hour, an hour. It’s really hard to plan around that.

Nial DeMena:

And the offset too. Not to interrupt, but it’s the offset to me has always been the most important because hey, I want my experience but I’ve got to go somewhere in three hours or four hours. And I think everybody right now, they’ve got multiple Zoom calls, you’re at home, everybody knows that you’re a home so they’re more likely to call you at night or at odd hours because you’re not going to be out. And so I think having something that can fit into somebody’s schedule really nicely. You could watch your favorite TV show and by the time the show’s over, the effects are over.

So that’s how we thought about it is that there’s these really discreet periods of time when you’d like to be able to switch it on and switch it off. And for people that don’t like vaping and given all the vape related injuries we’ve been seeing lately, that’s not going to go away. Inhalables are a big part of the cannabis market and we understand that, but I do think that people are looking for different methodologies and there has been an incredible shift towards edibles in this year specifically and we think that there’s room to play in that space.


Great. Well, as we’re aware, Manna is not a publicly-traded company. You guys continue to be-

Nial DeMena:

Not yet.


A private company.

Nial DeMena:



You are raising capital though, correct?

Nial DeMena:

Yeah. Yeah. We have money coming in from the spinoffs. So Vella is raising, we’ll have $10 million. Vella is actually paying Manna back for the development costs of Vella And we’re coupling that with more investment from our investment partner, Merida Capital, One East has been a great venture capital firm behind us. We’ve been talking to a few others.

Whenever you have money and things are going well, that’s the right time to get more investors and our backers have been incredibly patient with us. These are slow development time incubation, but we hope that the payoffs have been really good because we are discovering really cool things that no one’s ever done before and I think there’s renewed interest in what we’re doing. And we just opened a new ISO accredited facility to produce our patches. So we’re going to really look to a big box pharmacy chains now, because we can do ISO 13485, which is GMP as well, but that’s like sterile manufacturing goods. So we know we can do these at scale. We can do them super high quality and we have a new adhesive and performance data on that too.

So we feel like we’re trending up and our investors feel the same way too, but we certainly welcome other people and other perspectives and other investors. We’d like to get bigger as a company, we’d like to do more deals with the MSOs that we have and expand into states with players that we already work with. So all of those things require capital and operational overhead, but I think we’ve got the platform technologies to expand, to add new terpenes, new experiences in our patches and our speed tabs. And we have a beverage powder coming out in about three months too. Again, I think we’re really more recreational focus than we were before and ideally, consumers will really benefit from that.


Thank you so much for spending your time with us at the Green Market Report. I was super excited when I heard all this stuff about Vella and I really, really wanted to bring that to our reader’s attention and our viewers on our YouTube channels. So if you haven’t already, subscribe to our channel now, it’s free. And Nial, thank you so much for joining us and we’re going to keep our eye on Manna Molecular.

Nial DeMena:

I appreciate it and you’re one of my favorite every interviewees. So thank you and appreciate the time.


Video Staff

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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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