Unicamp and Entourage Phytolab entered into a partnership to study cannabis varieties in Brazil. The aim is to describe the medicinal, productive and genetic characteristics of 240 cannabis varieties which will be grown in controlled chambers. The research project, “Selection of Genotypes of Cannabis sativa L. for the Production of Medicines,” will be carried out in a period of 28 months.
The University of Campinas (Unicamp-SP,) and Entourage Phytolab, a research and development company for new cannabis-based products, have signed an agreement to study cannabis varieties in Brazil.
While Unicamp joins the body of researchers, Entourage funds the project, which will evaluate 240 cannabis varieties.
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Unicamp to choose marketable cannabis varieties in Brazil
“Unicamp will study the chemical, agricultural and genetic concepts of cannabis varieties in Brazil, which includes the production of raw materials and genotyping cannabis varieties. From the study, Entourage will choose which of them are more suitable for product development,” explained Ílio Montanari, an agronomist, and researcher at Unicamp’s Pluridisciplinary Center for Chemical, Biological and Agricultural Research (CPQBA.)
According to Caio Abreu, CEO of Entourage Phytolab, the most famous cannabis compounds are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD,) but they are not the only components of the cannabis plant.
“There are over 100 compounds that are in small proportions and have very interesting therapeutic potentials. From this genetic selection, we must find cultivars to produce these components in larger proportions, as they are a source of raw material for medicine,” he added.
Newton Frateschi, executive director of Inova Unicamp, pointed out that the second agreement with Entourage demonstrates the success of the university-company interaction focused on the health area.
“It is a clear case in which research and development at the University can become a product with a great impact on society,” said Frateschi.
Study on cannabis varieties in Brazil awaits Anvisa approval
The talks between both parties have been going on for about five years, but the progress of the research depends on the authorization of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa.) For the study on cannabis varieties in Brazil to be granted, some of the agency’s rules must be met.
“The CPBQA is a reference in medical cannabis, but Anvisa’s regulations have some requirements such as indoor planting and safe areas. The facilities are beginning to be adequate for the agency to approve the studies,” said Abreu.
The Unicamp researcher is confident about the approval and argues that studying cannabis varieties in Brazil is an opportunity for the country.
“Unicamp will apply for special authorization for Anvisa. This will be presented and we expect a response, at most, in three months and a positive response at that,” Abreu said.
While Anvisa’s approval for the study of cannabis varieties in Brazil is underway, Entourage intends to take further steps this year.
“In the first half of 2020, we will present some formulations and clinical trials,” he said.
Security and quality control is of utmost importance
The beginning of the research still depends on Anvisa’s approval for the controlled cultivation of cannabis varieties in Brazil for research purposes. The plants will be cultivated exclusively within three phytotrons which control temperature, air humidity, photoperiod, and light intensity.
As outlined in the agreement, in order to guarantee the safety of the research samples, the cultivation site will be monitored 24 hours a day by a security system implemented in the CPQBA by Entourage Phytolab including a rigid access control with biometric identification, double doors, and cameras with remote monitoring.
Entourage is the company responsible for the cost of the project from the identification and acquisition of the seeds to the reforms and equipment acquisition which will only occur after Unicamp obtains the Teaching and Research Establishment Authorization (AEP) for the project by Anvisa.
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First published in Globo Rural, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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