Spotlight on Khiron: UK Set to Experience Highest EU Medical Cannabis Growth
In November 2018 the UK legalized medical cannabis, establishing a market opportunity to reach and positively impact the lives of a population of over 66 million according to Prohibition Partners. Prior to this, high-profile cases relating to lack of cannabis access had attracted media and government attention, driving public interest in the benefits of medical cannabis and eventually leading to legislation. However, with limited supply and a lack of doctor education, the number of scripts issued has so far been low. Despite this, the opportunity for the UK market remains huge, with more than 1.4 million in the UK using cannabis for chronic pain alone, and the number of scripts expected to increase as access to medical cannabis expands, and doctors receive more and better education on suitable applications.
For Khiron, entry to the UK market has been a part of its global strategy to bring the company’s medical cannabis expertise from Latin America to jurisdictions in Europe. Khiron is an established leader in Latin America, and is the only company authorized to sell medical cannabis in Colombia, a market with a population close to 50 million. The company has market leading cultivation, research, product development and commercialization capabilities in the country, and operational activity in Brazil, Peru Mexico, Germany and Spain.
The UK is expected to experience the highest medical cannabis growth in Europe over the next four years, but education is a critical component in doctor and patient adoption. Recognizing this, Khiron has an established track record in hosting and participating in events that increase medical cannabis understanding among the doctor and carer community. The company hosted conferences in Colombia, and was a partner on CannaMexico, the largest cannabis focused event of its kind in the Latin American region. Today Khiron is active in online education programs for doctors, presented together with the leading universities in the region, included through Tec Monterrey, where over 1,500 doctors and health professionals are learning about medical cannabis with global insight on the latest research and applications.
Khiron is an active participant in international scientific research trials that further awareness and potential applications for medical cannabis for a number of conditions. As part of this strategy the company has partnered with Centro Dermatológico Federico Lleras Acosta, a leading Latin American dermatological institution, to jointly conduct medical cannabis research and host educational activities focusing on skin conditions and symptoms. In August 2019 pre-clinical medical cannabis studies were initiated with the Universidad de la República of Uruguay and Institut Pasteur de Montevideo focused on the effects of three licensed Khiron strains targeting inflammation, oxidative and nervous system disorders.
The company has an established European management and development team and in addition to the UK, Khiron recently announced market entry to Germany and Spain. In 2019, the company was invited to become the exclusive Latin American medical cannabis provider for UK-based Project Twenty21, Europe’s largest ongoing medical cannabis registry, which is enrolling over 20,000 patients to create the largest body for the effectiveness and tolerability of medical cannabis – with an aim to demonstrate to policymakers that medical cannabis should be as widely available, and affordable, as other approved medicines for patients who would benefit from them.
Leading the project, Professor David Nutt from the UK's leading independent scientific body Drug Science commented: "Khiron's assistance in delivering Project Twenty21 will expand the formulary significantly. Our shared vision, accelerating access of medical cannabis to patients who need it the most, will be greatly enhanced by the support provided by the Khiron team."
The project, which is now live, already has over 7,000 registrants and will consider treatment options 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.
“Receipt of our first prescriptions in the UK as part of Project Twenty21 is a testament to Khiron's regulatory strengths and globally diversified supply chain strategy. We have the flexibility to source medical cannabis products from multiple countries, with an aim to optimize for quality, speed and economics. The implementation of virtual consultations in the UK and mail order fulfilment are also huge milestones, which remove friction for patients and help to drive positive health outcomes," comments Tejinder Virk, President of Khiron Europe."
It is estimated that there are approximately 7.3 million people in the UK using CBD products each year, giving rise to new and emerging opportunities, particularly in relation to beauty and skincare. Recognizing this market potential, Khiron obtained authorization for its Kuida CBD skincare brand to be marketed in the UK, with first sales beginning in late 2019. Kuida, the first consumer brand of Khiron's wellbeing business unit, brings the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) to a comprehensive portfolio of skin and body care products for women. Kuida was launched in Colombia in October 2018 and is now available nationwide through over 350 retail, wholesale and online channels. The Kuida brand is widely available in the UK and the company has received authorization for consumer market entry to Spain. Khiron was recently recognized by Technavio Research as one of the top global players in the CBD cosmetics market, alongside L’Oreal SA and The Estée Lauder Companies.