Preliminary agreement to a €6 million funding commitment for completing a CBD extraction facility in Switzerland has been signed by Netherlands-headquartered IGEA Pharma NV and Italian private equity industrial holding firm LMH SpA.
The GMP-pharma facility is owned by IGEA Pharma through its joint venture, Blue Sky Swisse SA. SIX Swiss Exchange-listed IGEA’s background is in preventative health-tech products, and med-tech products and devices. Last year it moved into the CBD market via an equity offer to Blue Sky Natural Resources Ltd (BSNR), a privately held company specialising in “transforming vegetable matrices into innovative and high tech value products for the health, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industry” according to a statement from IGEA.
The intention of the combination was to “create an EU-headquartered and SIX-listed company with an innovative early-stage commercial and a strong development pipeline focusing on health prevention and nutraceutical solutions with focus on hemp, polycosanol and ikuvia extracts based on CO2 supercritical extraction.”
In the April before the business combination was agreed, IGEA had announced the signing of a two-year convertible bond commitment with UAE-based Negma Group, making available €2 million, extendable to €10 million once the combination with BSNR was completed. These funds were “for IGEA to use at its discretion, subject to terms, in its pursuit to have the industrial activities on cannabidiol and other vegetable matrices extracts started within the second half of 2021 as well as to immediately boost all efforts to establish and strengthen market acceptance and position for its early-stage combined portfolio of health prevention, nutraceutical, pharma, and cosmeceutical solutions.”
Blue Sky Swisse offers white labelling of its CBD products. These come with “blockchain-based anti-counterfeiting systems”. According to company marketing, the products include “a tool to verify their authenticity, the owner’s declaration and social media sharing options, through a free and simple application available for iOS and Android”. The company says that the cannabis used is cultivated organically outdoors, free from pesticides and herbicides, and the process is GMP (Food) certified. The products include oils and concentrates, soft gels, and derivatives for sectors from food to cosmetics.
BSNR does not specialise only in CBD products; instead, these sit alongside other plant-based products. One is Bulgarian rose oil, tapping into the centuries old Bulgarian rose-growing and flower-pressing industry. Another is the extraction of the antioxidant resvertarol from grape waste; BSNR expects growth in demand for resvertarol from the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry. The company is also bullish about a market for lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant pigment which occurs in ripe fruit, especially tomatoes. As well as having pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses, lycopene is a food natural colourant.