September 18, 2020

Prohibition Partners Interviews Pharmin’s CEO Ana Kobalia

4min read

Pharmin is a vertically integrated Uruguayan company, formed in June 2019 as a result of a transnational partnership of experienced and successful entrepreneurs. Today, the company is proud of its seed-to-sale traceability business model, with production taking place in its GACP-built hydroponic 2.3-hectare greenhouse with over 40 tonnes annual capacity, and its ultra-low-temperature ethanol extraction facilities.

September 18th, 2020

Conor O’Brien


 

Pharmin obtained its licences from the Uruguayan regulator IRCCA in August 2020, planning to export its non-psychoactive products worldwide in Q4 2020, while working to obtain its GMP and export its certified products in Q1 2021, in order to export both psychoactive and non-psychoactive GMP-certified products.

Pharmin’s key to success is its experienced, enthusiastic, young multinational team.

Can you tell us more about how Pharmin’s dream started back in 2019 and your trajectory so far?

Our project started to gain shape not so long ago, when my business partners and I had a dream of developing a new and challenging project in mind. We were lucky to meet a Uruguayan entrepreneur who helped us see the possibility of making that dream a reality. We came to Uruguay to check it out, see it with our own eyes, and we felt this was a dream with potential. In June 2019, we started building on our dream by increasing our local network, besides hiring local people who helped us with the whole process. Things were going as planned, despite some challenges in terms of language and culture, but then the unexpected happened – in March of 2020 our dream was getting hit by a global pandemic. But solid dreams, along with perseverance and local partners’ support, can overcome any obstacle, so we got through it successfully.

Teams are a key driver of a successful company. Tell us about the team at Pharmin and everyday life in your central office in Zonamerica?

Absolutely. We at Pharmin knew from day one that a good team is extremely important. We were very intentional in hiring local, diverse, talented people with an international mindset in order to shape a company reflecting these values of diversity, resilience, plus a global mindset. Today, we are proud to say we have a young multinational team, dedicated to creating a corporate culture where challenges are addressed and victories are shared as a team. It goes beyond our team – we have always been purposeful regarding our local and international partnerships, aiming for excellence, experience and teamwork. As a result, our team and partners possess vast experience in multiple industries, including corporate finance, legal compliance, agrobusiness, and extraction processes in the medical cannabis industry. To sum it up, we are a team of enthusiastic, passionate people driven towards continuous improvement and growth.

The world is witnessing Latin American companies starting to export to the global marketplace. Where is Pharmin today?

We are ready to bring health and well-being to the global marketplace. The implementation of the project was challenging due to the diversified skill sets required to build and execute world class medical-grade cannabis facilities. In collaboration with Pharmin’s international plus local partners, the company hired talent in the areas of agriculture, genetics, cultivation processes, extraction technologies, integrating GACP and GMP international standards. Pharmin is one of the largest investments in the medical cannabis industry in Uruguay. Pharmin has a unique set-up compared to other companies in the industry: all our facilities are located in the same free-trade area, Zonamerica, thus we leverage our location in terms of logistics and international trade, two key elements for any company in this industry. It is important to highlight that during Q2 2020 our operations were affected by COVID-19, yet by following our safety protocols we overcame the pandemic crisis, as did Uruguay, and in August 2020 we obtained our licences from the Institute of Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA). Our state-of- the-art pharmaceutical-graded production line is ready to become operative in October 2020, allowing for the manufacturing and distribution of non-psychoactive (e.g. CBD) products worldwide still in 2020, while our GMP production will be available from Q1 2021, allowing us to export both psychoactive (i.e. THC-containing) and non-psychoactive EU-GMP certified products.

Pharmin’s state-of-the-art 2.3 ha cultivation facilities with 40 t annual capacity.

Pharmin’s state-of-the-art ultra-low-temperature ethanol extraction facilities.

Cannabis is known for having high quality standards. How do Pharmin’s facilities address the industry requirements?

Quality is paramount to Pharmin. That is why we are proud of our seed-to-sale traceability business model that covers the operations of cultivation, extraction, and formulation of final goods. Cultivation facility is done in our hydroponic, climate-controlled 2.3-hectare greenhouse with production capacity of over 40 tonnes of biomass per year, built in compliance with the GACP standards. The company processes take into consideration the plant genetics with high THC, CBD, CBG and other cannabinoid profiles. We conduct the extraction process in a state-of-the-art ultra-low-temperature ethanol extraction facility laboratory, built with GMP standards, set up in a sterile and safe environment. The lab has capacity to produce a diversified product range, including isolates, distillates, final goods of tinctures, and soft gel pills, among others.

When looking towards 2021, what are you more excited about? What can we expect?

As a result of our focus on quality to deliver the best products, we expect to be GMP certified as soon as Q1 2021, opening the doors of the European markets to Pharmin’s products. We are very excited to offer our B2B clients white- and private-labelling services in Latin America and beyond. We are convinced that 2021 will be the year when the dream, which started in 2019, and grew its roots in 2020 – despite all the challenges we found on our way – will start to bear fruit.

We plan to expand our team to support our international expansion strategy. We have exciting news we want to share with you soon regarding our plans to bring quality health and well-being products to the global market. To find out more about us, click here https://www.pharmin.com/en

For more in-depth information, consumer data and strategic support, contact the Prohibition Partners consultancy team at info@prohibitionpartners.com or download one of our industry-leading reports.

 

Prohibition Partners Interviews Pharmin’s CEO Ana Kobalia

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