By / December 11, 2019

Former Bayer president joins in on cannabis startups in Brazil

As the head of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, executive Theo Van der Loo often participates in important decisions while in charge of Bayer in Brazil. Now he’s setting his sights on cannabis startups in Brazil.

He is preparing to return to the sector. This time as an entrepreneur in the development and clinical research of medical cannabis.

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Cannabis startups in Brazil helped Theo Van der Loo return to the cannabis market

With a career of more than 30 years in the German multinational manufacturer of Aspirin, Van der Loo knows how a drug is developed – billionaire investments, plus years of clinical research in active principles that may or may not materialize in the final launch of a drug.

Now, with the endorsement of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), which unanimously approved the regulation of the registration and sale of cannabis-based drugs in pharmacies and drugstores in Brazil, the rules begin to become clearer for investors and industries that put money in this business.

Anvisa is an important step for cannabis startups in Brazil

Currently, cannabidiol-based drugs can be imported upon medical prescription and authorization from Anvisa.

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD (with relaxing effects), along with THC (with hallucinogenic effects), are two of the more than 100 components of Cannabis sativa, the scientific name for cannabis.

“Cannabis medicines can help people. For cancer patients, for example, it helps to stimulate appetite and ease the pain. As more research goes on, more patients will benefit,” said Van der Loo, who founded startup NatuScience.

With the approval of Anvisa, Brazilian investors and companies see the decision as an important step for the expansion of cannabis startups in Brazil.

Entourage seeks authorization from Anvisa

a classroom with a teacher, talking about cannabis startups in Brazil
The Entourage company conducts negotiations to launch new cannabis-based products with the authorization of Anvisa. (Source)

Entourage is already importing the plant to transform on the concentrated extract and to develop medicines formulation for the patients.

The company is intensifying conversations with national laboratories to make partnerships to launch new products in the country.

Founded in 2015 by Caio Abreu, a lawyer specializing in capital markets, Entourage intends to request authorization from Anvisa in the first quarter of 2020 to conduct clinical trials in Brazil for treatments of refractory epilepsy.

The company has already invested $6 million in the business. It has an importer and a quality center laboratory in Valinhos, the countryside of Sao Paulo. The plant importation comes from countries, such as Colombia and Uruguay.

“What frustrates us is not being able to plant to do research in Brazil,” said Abreu.

Van der Loo is a partner in Uruguay. NatuScience, a company founded by Van der Loo, will also submit a request to Anvisa to conduct clinical trials for new treatments in Brazil.

According to the entrepreneur, it is necessary to break the prejudice around this business and cannabis startups in Brazil. Van der Loo will go out in search of investors to put his company on its feet.

So far, he has put money out of his own pocket to make NatuScience viable.

The Greenfield fund

a scientist with a beaker and a flask, representing research for cannabis startups in Brazil
The Greenfield fund invests in the global medical cannabis chain. (Source)

The Greenfield fund was created in 2018 by Brazilian executives Martim Mattos from Hypera (ex-Hypermarcas), Marcelo Marco Antonio from the founding family of Hospital São Luiz, and Fabio Furtado, heir of the Grid group (auto parts).

The Greenfield fund has raised $33 million (R$140 million) to invest in the medical cannabis chain worldwide.

These resources are allocated in Canada, a country with an open regulatory framework for cannabis.

Half of this amount has already been invested in 13 companies that operate in planting, extraction, genetic improvement of cannabis, distribution, and development of medicines.

One of these companies of the Greenfield fund is Greencare, the only one of the funds installed in Brazil that imports and distributes medicines and has intense work with the medical class to spread treatment.

Good news awaits cannabis startups in Brazil. This new market that is opening up is also beginning to be organized to gain legitimacy.

In the coming days, some of the companies that operate in the sector will announce the Brazilian Cannabis Industry Association.


(Featured image by Richard Chiang via Unsplash)

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