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CANNABIS: ITS MOLECULES AND USES

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Cannabis (or hemp) is a flowering plant from the family Cannabaceae, a subset of the order of Urticales. There are three species: Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis and several subspecies. Physically, even with considerable variations, it has an average height of 1.5 – 2 meters and is characterized by palmed leaves and straight, hairy stems. 

The name “hemp” means the variety without psychoactive ingredient (in nature, usually the male of the plant), which is used to produce food (seeds, oil, flour), biofuel, paper, fabrics, stringwork, cosmetic products and materials (innovative and very efficient) and for ecological construction.

History and uses in ancient times

Hemp is a plant that has been with humanity for thousands of years. Originally from the regions of Central Asia, over the centuries it has spread almost everywhere, overcoming all kinds of environmental adversities.  This was one of the first plants that man used as fiber, food, medicine and in social and religious rituals.

The first recorded use of cannabis dates back to 8.000 B.C., in an old town of Taiwan. It was used for the production of the first fabrics for clothing and also for the manufacture of footwear. In 4.000 B.C. In a Chinese town called Pan-p’o, hemp was considered one of the “five grains” of China and therefore one of the main food crops.

In India, Cannabis has been used for various medicinal and spiritual purposes, ranging from nausea and diarrhea to headaches and insomnia. Most importantly, the Indians used Cannabis often enough to ease the pain of childbirth.

Active molecules and therapeutical uses

Cannabis contains a huge amount of active ingredients. In more than 600 substances that make up it we find terpenes (more than 200), hydrocarbons, flavonoids, fatty acids, alcohols, aldehydes and other substances, in addition to the approximately 120 cannabinoids that have been identified to date. The distribution of cannabinoids varies in different strains of cannabis and usually only three or four cannabinoids are found in a plant at concentrations above 0.1%. The most well-known molecules contained in this plant are undoubtedly s-9-tetraidrocannabinole (THC), cannabidiole (CBD) and cannabigerole (CBG).

  • Terpenes are the class of chemicals with the greatest variety of smells and flavors. They contribute significantly to the quality of fruits and vegetables and participate in the synthesis of different biochemicals such as vitamins, hormones, oils and cannabinoids and have different therapeutic properties. Several terpenes have been identified with therapeutic effects on cannabis, such as myrcene, limonene, β-cariophyllene and pinene.
  • THC is the only cannabinoid that has psychoactive properties. Extensive research in recent decades explains that THC has numerous medicinal properties that are useful in a wide range of ailments, some of which include: Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, Tourette’s syndrome, cancer (in various forms) and many others. THC also has antiemetic (anti-nausea) properties that make it useful for the treatment of AIDS and chemotherapy patients. THC is considered a neuroprotective and means it can protect brain cells from damage caused, for example, by inflammation and oxidative stress. Scientists have also shown that THC can promote the growth of new brain cells through a process known as neurogenesis.
  • CBD is another cannabinoid currently at the center of various scientific research for its therapeutic qualities. Not only that, because the ownership of CBD to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, has also seen the entry of this cannabinoid into the recreational cannabis sector with many strains that have been enriched with CBD in proportions of 1: 1, 2: 1 or higher than THC. In addition to studies such as antipsychotic and pain therapy, CBD and cannabis genetics with a high content of this cannabinoid are the focus of several trials and clinical studies on different forms of drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in paediatric cases and young patients.
  • CBG is one of the many cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp that does not have psychotropic properties. Like THC and CBD, CBG produces various effects on our body, which makes it an increasingly attractive substance. Among others, we find antibacterial and antifungal effects, it can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, relieves pain, is anti-inflammatory, promotes bone growth, helps to fall asleep, is useful in the treatment of anorexia and cachexia, improves the intestinal diseases, it is antidepressant, it lowers intraocular pressure and many studies have confirmed that it is useful in the treatment of glaucoma.
Industrial uses

The industrial uses of the hemp plant are so many. The main uses are in the food sector, in the production of paper, in green construction, in the production of bioplastics, biofuels, textilesand cosmetics.

  1. The part of the plant that is mainly used as food is the seed, but the inflorescences are mainly marketed to make infusions or fermented to make tasty craft beers. The seeds can be eaten whole or peeled, they can be squeezed or ground to obtain hemp oil and flour. 
  2. The part of the plant that is used in construction is the gutter. It is the woody inner part that constitutes the stem of the plant. Hemp is rich in silicon, which gives it insulating and extremely absorbent properties. Thanks to the recent improvement of the properties of hemp in construction, several companies have embarked on the production of thermoacoustic panels, bricks and biocomposites such as lime. 
  3. From hemp it is possible to produce a completely natural, biodegradable and compostable bioplastic that could compete with the price of petroleum-derived materials that are used today, but that would have better characteristics of resistance and lightness. The automotive industry is one of the main users of this product, which makes it possible to manufacture lighter and more efficient cars, but also the packaging sector, for example, is paying a lot of attention to this type of material. In addition to being a bioplastic, hemp can be used as a biofuel, a natural and sustainable fuel source.

The part of the plant that is used for weaving is the fibrous part, these are hollow fibers, hydroscopic and resistant to mechanical action and deformation. The result is a breathable and heat-insulating fabric that allows you to stay cool in summer and warm in winter, reflecting up to 95% of UVA rays, hypoallergenic and antiseptic.

TRICOPHARMING ON THE SPANISH AGROTECH ECOSYSTEM MAP

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El Referente, in collaboration with the EIT Food iVZW organization founded by the European Union, has published the Map of the Agrotech ecosystem in Spain, made up of public-private actors and 143 startups, among which we have been highlighted as a company working on digitization and technological evolution within the agricultural world.

Thanks to the emergence of new projects and initiatives aimed at overcoming the difficulties of a sector that sometimes shows production systems stuck in the past. The report of investment in innovative companies in the Agri-Food-Tech world has increased by 15.5% in 2020, reaching $26.1 billion.

“The health and social crisis has reminded us that for employment, social activity and services to work, the primary sectors must do so. The 2020 scenario has brought back some general recognition to the agricultural and livestock sector, enhancing, in turn, debates on the quality and origin of products and evidencing the resilience and innovation opportunities existing in the primary sector.

Agrotech in Spain is one of the sectors that has experienced the greatest resilience and attraction of capital in 2020.

Read the full article here: https://elreferente.es/scouting/mapa-ecosistema-agrotech-espana-2021-eit-food/

WE ARE COMMITTED TO YOUTH EMPLOYMENT

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We have received recognition from the Chamber of Commerce of Santa Cruz de Tenerife for our contribution to youth employment. This recognition is due to our collaboration in the Integral Program of Qualification and Employment (PICE) and our commitment to improve the employability rates of young people under 30 years old.

The company Biotech Tricopharming Research SL has been the beneficiary of a hiring aid, within the Youth Employment Initiative of the European Social Fund and with the co-financing of the Cabildo de Tenerife, whose objective is to integrate into the labor market young people who do not work, study or receive training, in order to promote the labor market integration of the young population. It has been supported by the PICE program of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

GOOD RESULTS FOR THE BIOMAPPs PROJECT FINANCED BY ICEX AND FEDER FUND

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We thank ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones and the European Regional Development Fund for their support in our project BIOMAPs: Research on new industrial applications of Artennua® and identification and development of new biostimulants.

In the framework of the project, the results of our research in 2020 on Artennua® derivatives in industrial applications such as biocides, food preservatives and flavorings were very promising.

Moreover, thanks to the BIOMAPPs project we could accelerate the trials on optimization of different medicinal and aromatic plants species cultivation with the application of our technology ᴛʀɪᴄᴏsᴛɪᴍᴜʟᴀɴᴛ™.

BIOVEGEN’S XV MEETING OF PLANT MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

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Within the framework of the XV Meeting of Plant Molecular Biology organized by the Spanish Technology Platform for Plant Biotechnology BIOVEGEN, the “COMPANY-FINANCING R&D Session” will be celebrated. As part of the association we have the honor to be represented by the founder, scientist and CEO of Biotech Tricopharming Research SL, Luis Matías Hernández. The objective of the session will be to present TRICOPHARMING’s experience as a source of innovation, its business development strategy and the advances in the R&D projects carried out and in progress. The session will be carried out this 27th of November via online. 

Here is the preliminary program:

Moderator: Gonzaga Ruiz de Gauna. BIOVEGEN
11:00 h

Innovation companies:

  • DVA IBERIA. Andrés de La Cruz. Director of Crop Protection.
  • MAFA BIOSCIENCE. Hanan El Bakkali. Director of Regulatory Affairs.
  • TRICOPHARMING- Luis Matías Hernández. CEO and Co-Founder.
  • TARAZONA. Sergio Monzón. Director of Innovation and R+D.

Management and financing: 

  • CDTI-Centro Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial. Carlos Sanchez. Biotechnology and Agrifood Department.
  • AEI-State Research Agency. Mª Ángeles Ferre. Thematic Scientific-Technical Programs.
  • BIOVEGEN-Technological Platform of Plant Biotechnology. Gonzaga Ruiz de Gauna. Coordinator.

WE ARE A NEW SEFIT CORPORATE PARTNER

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We are pleased to announce that from this month we are a corporate partner of the Spanish Society of Phytotherapy SEFIT, which brings together professionals from various fields working in the study and the therapeutic application of medicinal plants.

Being part of SEFIT helps us to promote our research and spread our work with medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) which aims not only to increase the therapeutic potential of various MAPs, but also to research and find new uses and therapeutic applications in order to promote population health.

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PROMISING RESULTS WITH OUR TRICOSTIMULANT™ ON BASIL PLANTS

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From our R&D department we are working to improve the quality and yield on diverse Medicinal & Aromatic plants (MAPs). TricoStimulant™ is a last-generation supplementary plant preparation that combines metabolic engineering and -omics tools especially formulated to enhance MAPs physiological properties.

After the success of TricoStimulant™ with our first product, Artennua®,  we are adapting and personalizing our innovative technology towards other MAPs of special interest as the preliminary results with basil we present today. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) has been used as a medicinal and aromatic plant for centuries. Nowadays it is used in many fields of human activity, especially in the food industry and in gastronomy. It is one of the species of aromatic medicinal plants that has a high content of essential oils, especially eugenol, widely used in medicine. Basil is also important for the pharmaceutical industry and is still used in traditional medicines in many parts of the world due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties and for treating gastric, respiratory and urinary disorders. 

Our preliminary results are promising and show that we are on the right way, as we observed a very powerful effect significantly increasing both the aerial fresh weight and the number of leaves in basil plants. Indeed, figure 1 shows how different doses of TricoStimulant™ applied exert their beneficial effect on basil plants in hydroponic systems. As shown in the graph we have obtained an increase of 60% in the number of leaves and 55% in shoot fresh weight. As these are powerful preliminary results, our conviction is that we will achieve greater increases in the near future and we are working towards this goal.

To better illustrate the effect of our technology on basil plants, figure 2 shows how applications of increasing doses of TricoStimulant™ correlate with increased growth and development of the plant. We are proud of our TricoStimulant™ and we are convinced that this technology has a promising future to improve therapeutic potential on other MAPs.

Figure 1: Shoot fresh weight, leaves numbers , are shown after the application of different doses of TricoStimulant™ on nutrient and non-nutrient substrates.

Figure 2: The results onshoot fresh weight and leaves number of the application of increasing doses of TricoStimulant™ applied to plants grown in soil substrate are shown from left to right.

MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC PLANTS TO FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

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We continue working in our research to collaborate with a treatment for the COVID-19.

Watch the CMM Castilla-La Mancha Media interview about our work with Artemisia annua and its possible application in the fight against the virus.

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TRICOPHARMING, A LEADING COMPANY THAT ANTICIPATE TOMORROW

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Our company Tricopharming was included by the ABC newspaper in the top of the biotechnology and ICT companies that are committed to development and innovation in Spain thanks to our biotechnology based on biopharmaceutical agriculture and our first success case Artennua®, a optimized version of Artemisia annua.

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THE IMPULSE OF ACCIÓ AND THE CATALONIA REGION TO TRICOPHARMING – STARTUP CAPITAL 2019

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Startup Capital 2019

 

Glad to announce that Tricopharming has been selected among the 20 most innovative tech startups of Catalonia Region within the framework of the Startup Capital 2019 call!

Startup Capital boosts early stage technological companies helping to accelerate their product development and road map to market by co-financing business plan implementation. 

The call is addressed to high technological Startups located in Catalonia region. The catalan startup ecosystem is very dynamic according to recent regional statistics showing a growing trend in startup number with a total 1.504 in 2019, meaning a 38% more than 3 years ago. In the previous editions of the call, selected StartUp were all standing out for their technological and innovation impact.

Time frame is 18 months, starting in November 2019. The initiative consists in a direct grant of up to 75.000 euros for recently-created technological startups, plus a mentoring program carried out by ACCIO via mentorship specialists and major representatives of the technology, health and biotech industry. The initiative finances measures to implement the business plan and to accelerate access to early stage financing rounds.

Thanks to the project we will be able to conduct on-field beta testing to eventually launch on the market our new business line by the end of 2020. 

On the other side, thanks to Startup Capital financing, we will be able to scale up faster the production and commercialization of our product Artennua®, since 2019 available in the two formats capsules and B2B bags.

That’s a very good news for us! It joins the good results achieved in 2019: at the beginning of 2019 we took part to the Barcelona Activa pre-Acceleration Program – being to date incubated in the MediaTic Tech StartUps @22 district hub, we received the Cervera project co-funding by CDTI for our R&D activity and last but not least, the ‘Seal of Excellence’ by the European Commission in the framework of the SME Instrument phase 1 call.