Tikun Olam-Cannbit, the leading Israeli medical cannabis company formed in 2019 with the acquisition of Tikun Olam by Cannbit Pharmaceuticals, signed an agreement with Israel-based nutritional supplement company Ambrosia-SupHerb this summer to develop, produce, and market a series of unique products that will combine cannabis and mushroom components for the nutritional supplement market.
Under the agreement, the companies will launch a joint pilot led by their respective R&D teams. On the Tikun Olam-Cannbit side, the pilot will be led by the distinguished Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider, PhD, head of the company’s research department for the last 15 years and one of the leaders in clinical medical cannabis research today.
The companies will to work together to create a range of products using components from existing nutritional supplements like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and plants, along with cannabis and mushrooms.
“We have done some research on several mushrooms that are allowed as food and on medicinal mushrooms. Those mushrooms were a very good basis to understand that together with compounds derived from cannabis like CBD and others, we can have good synergy and support the indications we are aiming for,” Guy Haim, Vice President of Business Development at Tikun Olam-Cannbit tells NoCamels.
According to Haim, those indications include compounds that back Tikun Olam-Cannbit’s evidence-based medical approach which uses cannabis to help strengthen the immune system and help treat health issues such as gastrointestinal problems.
Established in 1986, Ambrosia-SupHerb is considered Israel’s largest nutritional supplement manufacturer. The Netanya-based company manufactures a broad array of nutritional supplements and therapeutic herbs in their factory located at the HarYona industrial park in Nazareth Illit and specializes in developing and manufacturing soft gel capsules. They are the marketer of Solgar’s nutritional supplements in Israel.
“This is basically the reason for the collaboration,” says Haim, “They are not found only in Israel, they are also found in several places in Europe,” he adds.
Immediately after signing the agreement, the companies applied to the Medical Cannabis Unit to receive approval for the research and development activity in Israel.
“We are going to start hopefully in Israel if the regulation will allow it, but we are not going to wait only for the Israel regulatory approval. We’re going to go into markets, where it’s going to be more accessible for us for now because it’s easier for us to sell CBD products, it’s easier for us to sell food products containing compounds.” Haim explains.
Haim describes the food supplement as something that will come in gel tablet or pill format that can be ingested once or twice a day and will be sold alongside any other nutritional supplement you might be able to buy over the counter at your local pharmacy.
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The company signed the partnership agreement in August but they are only beginning to deal with aspects of the project now. “We hope that in the next year we’ll be able to launch a supplement product for the first time. It’s going to contain compounds from mushrooms and compounds from cannabis and to sell it in European countries where it’s considered a food supplement,” says Haim.
During the pilot stage, Haim tells NoCamels that they are going to be taking the mushrooms they find relevant and the compounds they want to create, run lots of tests on qualities like stability in order to understand the shelf life of the product, and do different examinations to understand the potency of the compounds and the synergy they have together.
The products will be “very, very affordable,” says Haim, “It’s something that was very important to us.”
Entry into the food market
Tikun Olam-Cannbit made the decision to enter the food market because this is one of the many directions being addressed by the CBD industry.
According to the “Global Cannabis Food and Beverage Market 2021-2026” report by Research and Markets, the world’s largest research store, North America holds the largest market for the cannabis food and beverage market. In the US, the cannabis industry is growing rapidly, generating billions of dollars each year. CBD product sales are likely to reach over US$20 billion across the country. While the use of cannabis in food and beverages for recreational purposes has always been popular — even more so now that it’s legalized — the emergence of cannabis in the food market goes beyond recreational purposes to offer health and nutritional value.
“There is a lot of good quality cannabinoids that are not psychoactives that we discovered and researched over the years,” says Haim. “We gained a lot of insight about compounds, and about molecules that are inside the cannabis. It can be minor cannabinoids, It can be terpenes. It can be flavonoids, it can be several components found in cannabis.”
The mushroom market, originating in the Far East, has also reached the US and Europe in recent years. It is a market experiencing accelerated growth that is estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars, a statement from Tikun Olam-Cannbit says.
“This is a market with tremendous sales potential, as we have seen the mushroom market flourishing in the East and growing in the US. Our empirical knowledge in the field of medical cannabis brings added value in the creation of an innovative product that heralds a new message for patients worldwide. We are delighted that Ambrosia SupHerb has decided to invest in the company and thank them for their trust in our vision and their decision to make this strategic investment,” says Avinoam Sapir, general manager at Tikkun Olam-Cannbit.
“The ultimate goal is to give people nutrients they might not be getting otherwise,” says Haim. “And to give them the ability to have a healthier life. It’s going to be more of a preventative approach than it is to treat the issue because it’s a supplement.”
“We want the product that we develop to keep the same atmosphere of Tikun Olam, a pharmaceutical company with an evidence-based medical approach to products We want to put compounds together that are going to be effective, going to bring added value, its going to be a synergistic effect between the compounds,” he adds.