Wissington glasshouse to grow plants for epilepsy medicine
Wissington, Norfolk – 25 October 2016
British Sugar, the leading UK beet sugar producer, announces today that its horticultural business is to grow a key ingredient for the pharmaceutical sector.
This ingredient will be used in a new prescription medicine being developed to treat rare but serious forms of epilepsy in children. The medicine, known as Epidiolex, has recently completed trials at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London as well as other hospitals in the UK, Europe and the US. This contract with GW Pharmaceuticals is a further step in making this medicine more widely available.
The active ingredient in Epidiolex is known as Cannabidiol (CBD), and it is sourced from a non‐psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant family, specifically bred for medical purposes. We will start to grow these plants from 2017.
The crop will replace production of tomatoes to be phased out from November and we remain committed to meeting our existing supply commitments for tomatoes.
Sixteen years ago we realised we could use some of the heat and waste carbon dioxide generated in our Wissington sugar factory to develop a horticultural business. During this time, we have invested in our world‐class facilities and developed our expertise to deliver consistent, high quality crops season after season. This new era for our horticultural business uses all we have learned to date to further build this value stream for British Sugar and to benefit the pharmaceutical industry.
Paul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar
Furthermore, we are extremely proud that our new crop will make a worthwhile contribution to the control of such a debilitating childhood disease. Annually, we will produce enough of this ingredient to treat the equivalent of up to 40,000 children globally.
Galia Wilson, Chair of Dravet Syndrome UK said: ‘’Dravet syndrome is one of several rare but serious forms of epilepsy in children and adults for which there are limited treatment options. We welcome the development of any medicine that may help this complex patient group with high levels of unmet need.’’
Original press release: http://www.britishsugar.co.uk/Media/2016/Wissington-glasshouse-to-grow-plants-for-epilepsy.aspx