Afriplex has announced that one of its strategic partners, House of Hemp, has received their Cannabis Cultivation License from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). This is a historical milestone for South Africa to become an active and innovative player in the budding cannabis market, and marks a positive move forward by SAHPRA to encourage the development of the medical cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) sector.
A growing body of medical research both locally and globally points to the recognition of cannabis – and especially cannabidiol (CBD) use – for patients needing to manage diseases like cancer (and the side effects of chemotherapy), epilepsy and seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), glaucoma, dementia, Alzheimers, autism, fibromyalgia and a range of auto-immune diseases.
SAHPRA’s granting of the license sets in motion a process which will eventually see the standardisation and proper scientific formulation, dosage requirements and combinations of cannabinoids for medical purposes. It offers not only the opportunity to safely improve the lives of patients with life-challenging conditions, but also to enhance the general wellbeing of a larger community of patients struggling with more general ailments like pain, inflammation, appetite stimulation, sleep quality, nausea and asthma.
With the current global market value for medicinal cannabis estimated at USD 8.28-billion – and expected to reach USD 27-billion by 2024 – the medical cannabis industry has formidable economic development potential for South Africa.
‘Afriplex and our strategic partner, House of Hemp, are extremely honoured to be associated with the first Cannabis License from SAHPRA,’ says Danie Nel, Afriplex CEO. ‘The teams have worked tirelessly over the last seven years to ensure we meet not only local standards but also the legislative requirements and quality standards of international markets as well. Being the first in South Africa to receive this accreditation enables us to actively pursue expansion into the cannabis market locally and internationally.’
Established in 2001 with a strong focus on African indigenous plant extracts, Afriplex is currently one of the leading contract manufacturers of complementary medicines (CAMs) and health supplement products in the country. The company’s move into the cannabis market is a successful extension of the botanical offering that the business already has. Afriplex has already developed four other Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API’s) that are proudly South African based and which are popular in international markets.
Nel goes on to explain that for international investors and companies operating in the medical marijuana field, South Africa as a country of source poses many benefits: ‘As new markets open up abroad, we will be able to export to any country that is legally allowed to buy the products. As demand grows, so will the economic development opportunities and the profit potential. Especially since South Africa offers a safe and stable business environment in sub-Saharan Africa, and as a gateway into the rest of Africa and abroad.’
He adds that South Africa’s main export markets are expected to be Canada, the United States, the European Union, and a selection of African countries.
- The success in obtaining this highly specialised license is a culmination of about seven years’ of research and intensive investigation and preparation into the market. During this time, both Afriplex and House of Hemp have invested significant research into identifying and developing the best cannabis strains which would be viable for both the local and international market.
- This development has also gone hand in hand with Afriplex’s advanced analytical capabilities within their GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice Certified) facility.
- As part of the license, cannabis cultivation will take place in a 40 000 square meter constructed greenhouse facility which can grow four to six crops a year under dedicated growing conditions.
- Afriplex operates out of its 6 000 square meters, state-of-the-art GMP production facility in Paarl, Western Cape. The facility complies with local and international cGMP standards and boasts numerous international accreditations.
- Afriplex’s extraction processing facilities will use the latest Super-Critical CO2 extraction to maximise the API extraction to meet predetermined pharmaceutical standards.
- Afriplex’s strong research programmes with private and government institutions have allowed the business years of practical hand-on exposure and management of these large-scale projects. This specialised product development offering positions Afriplex and its partners to be first to market with products developed in South Africa for the African and international market.
- Additional quality assurance (QA) services, including stability testing and regulation support, ensures that finished products are compliant with the various regulatory authorities’ latest requirements.
- QA is a critical component to bring to market the product offerings within this highly evolving market. This fact is imperative as Afriplex and its partners desire that this project brings safe and scientifically proven cannabis products to South Africans within a strictly regulated manner.
- Going forward Afriplex plans to follow a strategy of partnering on a local and international scale with clients and partners that see the added value in these specialized sectors who aim to serve global market with locally developed API’s.
- This specialised product development offering positions Afriplex and its partners to be first to market with products developed in South Africa for the African and international market.