Spotlight on Khiron: The Medical Cannabis Leader in Colombia with Global Reach
Colombia based Khiron Life Sciences, an integrated medical cannabis company with core operations in Latin America and Europe has developed a reputation as a Latin American industry leader. In March 2020 the company advanced this further, receiving GEP certification for its cultivation and laboratory facility outside Doima, Colombia, and in doing so becoming the first and only Colombian company authorized to sell medical cannabis in the country. As the company now fills patient prescriptions in Colombia through its own clinics and through third party pharmacies, it has expanded operations and activity globally, in Peru, Mexico, Brazil and more recently established marketing and distribution in the UK, Germany, Spain and US.
Co-founders CEO Alvaro Torres, and Andrés Galofre, VP of Business Development, launched Khiron in 2017 with a focused strategy to improve the quality of life for patients, changing how medical cannabis products are used and their application as treatment options for common conditions such as anxiety and chronic pain, as well as more specific illnesses including Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
With its 14,000 Sq. ft facility in Doima, Colombia, Khiron is a vertically integrated company, cultivating its own cannabis plants, which are then processed for the production of its branded medical, compassionate use, wellness and adult use products. Leveraging Latin America’s ideal climate, low-cost labour, and agricultural know-how, the company’s cultivation and processing operations are optimized for abundant, pharmaceutical-grade growth. In June 2020 Khiron completed installation of a 1-megawatt solar energy park, with the potential to generate 40% of the facilities energy requirements.
Colombia has experienced over 400% growth in foreign investment since the early 2000s and has one of the most attractive GDP profiles in the region. With the third largest population in Latin America and a growing middle class, Colombia is recognized as one of the most vibrant markets in the region in which to do business.
Brazil represents the largest addressable market in Latin America with an anticipated 3.4 million patient population and a potential USD $1.4 Billion network for medical cannabis. Khrion has an established footprint in this market with authorization from the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) allowing for Khiron medical cannabis product to be imported for use on an individual patient basis. Further, total requests for medical cannabis have tripled in the country since 2015 (Source: ANVISA) and today, approximately 1,100 physicians are now prescribing medical cannabis to their patients.
In Peru, only registered pharmaceutical establishments who have fulfilled GSP requirements are authorized to participate in wholesale import and commercialization of cannabis products. Khiron currently holds the necessary license that certifies the company as a registered pharmaceutical establishment and is one of the first cannabis companies in the country to have received GSP certification from Peru's Directorate General of Drug Supplies and Drugs (DIGEMID). With a population of 32 million, Peru's medical cannabis market is estimated to be worth US$99 million
In a highly regulated industry Khiron has been a leader in participating in medical cannabis regulatory development in Colombia and across Latin America, as strict legislation has allowed for the cultivation, commercialization, and prescribing of medical cannabis within parameters that provide research and health advantages, while creating economic and societal benefit.
“Our business roots are here in Latin America and particularly in Colombia, a market of almost 50 million that is increasingly receptive to medical cannabis options. Khiron is leading the path forward on issues from compliance to innovation, education and importantly, market distribution and sales. In Colombia this means we are serving patients needs while increasing our capabilities for the LatAm region, which will undoubtedly play a pivotal role as the multi-billion global cannabis industry matures,” comments Khiron CEO Alvaro Torres.
In 2018, shortly after becoming the first Colombian cannabis company to trade globally, Khiron began acquiring clinic networks in Colombia, including facilities that treat neurological and nervous system pathologies. The company now owns and operates two ILANS clinics and in early 2020 opened its Zerenia integrated medical care facility, increasing clinical capacity by 75%. These clinics are staffed by over 60 health professionals and serve a network with over 155,000 patient transaction for medical and wellness treatment options.
In addition to production of medical cannabis, Colombia's regulations also allow for the commercialization of CBD cosmetics products. Khiron has tapped into this opportunity to market cannabidiol-based products targeted to consumers. In 2018, the company became the first fully licensed medical cannabis company to receive approval from INVIMA (Colombia's National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute) for the commercialization of cannabinoid-based products, and subsequently, was the first to launch a CBD cosmeceutical line later that year. The line, known as Kuida, comprises eleven SKU’s and is now distributed across more than 350 retail stores in Colombia, as well as through the popular Rappi delivery app. The growing Kuida line is now also distributed in the US and UK, and the company recently announced a distribution agreement to bring the brand to consumers in Spain.
As the cannabis industry has commercialised it has been essential to educate patients and doctors. Again, Khiorn has been a leader, launching the largest medical cannabis conference in Colombia, and co-hosting CannaMexico, the most significant cannabis event of its kind in Latin America. The company is also highly active as a host and participant in education forums in Latin America and Europe, working alongside prominent health professionals, researchers and educators to develop best practices and learnings for the global cannabis market.
In 2019, the company was invited to become the exclusive Latin American medical cannabis provider for Project Twenty21, Europe’s largest ongoing medical cannabis study, which is enrolling over 20,000 patients to create the largest body of evidence for medical cannabis. The project will study treatment option for conditions that include Chronic Pain, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Tourette's Syndrome, Anxiety Disorder or those who are dealing with the harm of substance misuse.
Khiron recently entered a partnership with Tecnológico de Monterrey, a leading university in Mexico, to establish a physicians’ educational program that provides medical cannabis training to up to 1,500 LatAm doctors utilizing Khiron’s proprietary e-learning model. The company also maintains partnerships with several medical and research institutions that study integrative medicine and its effects on chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis – including The Colombia Military University and The Colombian Association of Neurology.
Khiron is an active participant in Colombian communities and a strong advocate for community health. The company provided vital testing equipment as part of the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and it supports family health and wellbeing in the Doima region of Colombia, where it operates, with programs that make professional medical resources available to local families.