Plandai Biotechnology, Inc.’s CEO Discusses Company’s Plans for 2015
NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – January 09, 2015) – Plandaí Biotechnology (PLPL) recently updated shareholders on a list of accomplishments reached in 2014, so Stock Market Media Group (SMMG), a research and content development investment relations firm, spoke with Plandaí’s Chief Executive Officer, Roger Duffield, to discuss Plandaí’s plans for 2015.
SMMG: First and foremost, can we get your reaction to the opening of your new production facility in South Africa and what does its completion mean for Plandaí in 2015?
Roger Duffield: “Well, opening the Senteeko facility is really the culmination of over a decade of research, sacrifice, and determination. Taking the initial concept that we could produce a highly bioavailable plant extract — at a time when no one was even looking at the importance of bioavailability for nutraceuticals — and then seeing it through to this point, has been an amazing journey that wouldn’t have happened without the help and support of countless people. I get chills every time I visit Senteeko, drive thirty minutes on logging roads through thick forests, and then pass the gates to our estate and see the vast acres of tea with this amazing jewel of a factory sitting in the middle. I’m overwhelmed, excited, relieved, and deeply humbled all at the same time.”
SMMG: What is the significance of Plandaí’s shift from a research and development company to a biotech that produces and sells products?
Roger Duffield: “Let me answer by first stating that Plandaí will always be a research and development company. When you look at the pharmacopeia of medicinal plants, you can see that there are hundreds of potential future research products for us. And even with just green tea catechins, we could spend a lifetime just on different human clinical trials as we explore the vast potential of this amazing plant.
“But, from a practical standpoint, now that the factory is opened, we can start generating revenues and positive cash flows. This will allow us to operate without dilution or incurring additional debt, expand our products lines, and return value to our shareholders.
“Operationally, it means that we now have a whole new business model with new logistics. When you stop to think about what it takes to sell a product like Phytofare®, it requires so many moving parts working in harmony. Growing the leaf, picking it properly, manufacturing, batch testing, packaging, tracking and quality control, shipping, customs. Then you have the sales aspect, which includes marketing, trade shows, literature. It’s really quite a process that I think few people fully understand.”
SMMG: In 2013 Plandaí announced its entrance into the cannabis research arena, in 2014, the company secured a licensing agreement with Diego Pellicer and then obtained a consent letter from the Minister of Health in Uruguay to begin growing cannabis and producing an extract for animal testing, so what can we expect in 2015?
Roger Duffield: “Our plan at this point is to establish the cannabis growing infrastructure in Uruguay this year with an expectation of having an extract ready for testing six to nine months after it comes online. Our initial goal of having a product market-ready by the end of 2014 proved unrealistic once we determined that current U.S. laws, even in states where marijuana is legalized, prohibited us from legally acquiring cannabis, producing an extract, and then testing it inside the U.S.
“Our operation in Uruguay will allow us to better control the chemical profile and then conduct our research into various neural disorders in a safe, legal, and scientifically validated manner. Also, we will be able to establish standards for dosage and chemical profile, which has so far been very limited with respect to cannabis research.”
SMMG: After releasing the data in 2014 from a human clinical trial performed at North West University in South Africa that showed Plandaí’s Phytofare® Catechin Complex demonstrated ten times greater bioavailability over a generic catechin extract, what is next in the on-going research at North West University?
Roger Duffield: “Starting this month, the research team at North West University in South Africa, under the supervision of the Dean’s office of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the inventor of the Pheroid® delivery system, Prof. Anne Grobler, will complete the third arm of the bioavailability study. This final phase will use the same 26 human subjects, but this time the study will incorporate the addition of Pheroid® to the Phytofare® extract.
“We anticipate that adding the Pheroid® delivery system will increase the overall bioavailability while also opening up the potential to use our extracts in less controlled applications such as adding Phytofare® to other ingredients including topical creams and liquids, and in environments where you are less able to control exposure to outside influences such as UV light, which kills the antioxidants.
“North West University will also be conducting our human weight loss clinical trial, which will test the Phytofare® versus a placebo over 90 days and involving 120 patients. This trial will also be looking at a complete blood panel so we can identify from a medical standpoint the effects of catechins on everything from blood sugar to cholesterol. The results could potentially open entirely new fields of research.”
SMMG: Any closing thoughts?
Roger Duffield: “2015 promises to be a productive year for Plandaí. With the completion of the new laboratory inside the Senteeko facility, we plan to produce our first citrus extract and then test its bioavailability followed by a human clinical trial to confirm improved respiratory benefits including symptom relief for sinus, colds and the flu. And, as always, we continue to explore the medical potential of other phytonutrients and expect to test new extracts throughout the year.”
About Stock Market Media Group
SMMG is a Research and Content Development IR firm offering a platform for corporate stories to unfold in the media with research reports, CEO interviews and feature news articles. SMMG is compensated $3,500 per month by Plandai Biotechnology for content development. Previously, SMMG was compensated for similar content by a third party which occurred from April 2013 through June 2014. During that period, SMMG received approximately $55,000 for its content. Neither SMMG nor anyone associated with it owns shares in PLPL. For more information:www.stockmarketmediagroup.com.