April 6, 2021

Expert Interview: Susanne Caspar, CEO of Linnea

4min read

Why, given the challenges involved, has Linnea decided add Cannabis to its portfolio? Over the last 40 years or so, Linnea SA has gained extensive experience in the manufacture of natural extracts for use as APIs, supplements and cosmetic ingredients.

Working in different industries, whether pharmaceutical, food or cosmetics, we have a clear vision of the road to take to develop new products that are truly beneficial to people’s health and wellbeing.

To us, the challenges presented by Cannabis products are also an opportunity to apply the lessons learned and the expertise gained as we’ve grown as a company, focusing the skills and talent of our team of professionals on the creation of an innovative product that will help others.

What is important for a pharmaceutical Cannabis product?

Quality. Definitely quality. When I say quality, I mean an all-encompassing, 360-degree quality that starts from the selection of the raw materials and continues on to manufacturing and analysis.

Quality of course also means GMP; but at Linnea it means something more: passion and quality that isn’t just monitored, but built upon trust. At Linnea, we understand the importance of standardization, because once you become the supplier of a specific ingredient, you are also the warrantor and provider of reliable treatments for patients, not to mention measurable results in clinical studies.

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What are the biggest hurdles faced in the development Cannabis products?

At first it can be hard to understand the general rules and legal status regarding Cannabis. Having a complete overview of the different national and local regulations is pivotal to the relationship between Linnea and the various regulatory authorities.

The next key step is to find a reliable supplier of raw materials that can guarantee a consistent product. Cannabis cultivations, like other cosmeceutical or pharma products, must comply with strict rules and require constant attention and care to generate a high-quality product. No step can be taken for granted in the production of active ingredients in general, and Linnea has applied this same approach to Cannabis. We oversee and guarantee the entire process, from cultivation up to the final ingredient, applying excellence as our measure of quality in every phase. Moreover, Linnea is backed by experience and by a robust, talented team will the skills necessary to develop innovative extraction methods.

In 2014, when we kicked off the project, we were pioneers in the market. Customers were perhaps a bit surprised when we first presented our Cannabis product, but good work is always rewarded. In 2016, we became the first company in the cannabis market to receive GMP certification for our extract, giving us the boost we needed to continue on in the development and enhancement of our Cannabis line. Today we are still working on new products, and we’ve applied to add two of our products to the Novel Food catalogue. We believe that this big step forward and other gradual changes to regulations in Europe make it a promising market.

Linnea has recently released its Cannabis Ready-Made forms. Why did you choose to add finished products to your portfolio?

It was a natural evolution. After almost 40 years of extraction, we embraced the challenge and started working on finished products. Moreover, we’ve gotten the sense that there is a demand for high-quality finished products—we want to bring the quality of a pharmaceutical approach to cannabis products, and do so to meet the needs of our trusted customers around the globe. To date, some have launched products already, while others are still in the registration process. By meeting their needs, we will continue to serve our valued clients through our products (pharma, food and cosmetics), strengthening our ties with over 20 countries.

One such international client that we are proud to work with is BOD Australia Ltd, which launched Medicabilis in 2018, a prescription-only product based on our 5% Cannabis extract that is available in Australia under the national Special Access Scheme. Another respected client from Argentina, launched an interesting product within the national market in November 2020: Convupidiol, which contains our pure CBD.

These are all incredible achievements for Linnea, which after years of dedication and hard work is seeing collaborations with clients come to fruition, with both parties embracing the potential of Cannabis. And, perhaps most importantly, in the serious approach to Cannabis as a high-value pharmaceutical-grade ingredient.

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What is your flagship product?

Without a doubt: our Cannabis extract 5% – CBD (CM05), a product developed thanks to incredible teamwork and Linnea’s constant pursuit of products that meet strict quality standards. As a full, standardized CBD extract, it’s really taken off, with impressive sales and clinical results.

We continue to move forward with clinical studies in collaboration with some large independent research institutes, and with some of our customers. BOD Australia just recently conducted a clinical study that assessed the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of Medicabilis. So far, the results have been incredible and it is quite likely that trials such as this one will give us the momentum to keep believing in the healing power of Cannabis.

What does Linnea have in store for 2021?

We’re working on numerous different products and projects in terms of our Cannabis line. Be on the lookout for a 5% Cannabigerol extract, first as a food-grade ingredient and a pharmaceutical-grade product in the coming months.

The European Cannabis Report: 6th Edition takes a deep dive on the current social, economic, regulatory and health trends. The report also includes sales forecasts of medical and adult-use cannabis in the US and Canada.

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Expert Interview: Susanne Caspar, CEO of Linnea

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