In an effort to expand across Latin America, Khiron Life Sciences Corp. KHRNF recently partnered with e-commerce company Rappi to launch and distribute a line of CBD products to Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Khiron CEO Alvaro Torres told Benzinga the collaboration is "focused on the new low touch economy."
"We are starting with the distribution of the beauty brand Kuida, but in the future, we are projected to reach other markers and products," Torres said, citing how using Rappi is a "great strategy" considering it is "already in everybody's phone."
Rappi has been touted as a so-called "super app" in Latin America, specializing in on-demand home delivery.
Khiron, meanwhile, is a major industry player in its own right. It's considered one of the "big four" cannabis producers in Colombia and has been reaching new consumers in other countries.
Khiron also ventured into Peru where it filled over 3,000 prescriptions of CBD medical cannabis. Before that, it set up a deal with Uruguay's government on pre-clinical medical cannabis studies — each focusing on the effects of its three licensed strains.
The strains were "proven to be of great quality," Torres said.
On the local level, the company commenced developing the medical cannabis magistral preparations to treat patients with complex diagnoses.
"We extrapolated that knowledge and quality product to other countries using those same strains and compounds," noted Torres. "Every partnership between companies and governments for scientific purposes is a positive milestone."
The Uruguayan government is betting heavily to become a cannabis industry leader from scientific studies to regulatory openings and exports, he explained.
Khiron recently set up as a distribution agreement with DNO Group to deliver Kuida CBD cosmeceutical products to consumers in Hong Kong.
According to Torres, setting up that deal "wasn't easy to accomplish in regulatory and logistic terms."
Nevertheless, it was worth it since the goal is to "target the Asian market as a whole, and Hong Kong is the main entrance to target this region," Torres added.
When it comes to seizing its growth opportunities internationally, Khiron has been significantly expanding its footprint in Europe as well.
Shortly after signing the distribution deal with Nimbus Health to import and sell medical cannabis in Germany, the company agreed to collaborate with the U.K.-based Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society on providing UK-based doctors with medical cannabis training.
Khiron confirmed last month that it opted to utilize its cloud-based learning platform for the purpose.
"Doctor education is a fundamental pillar of any pharmaceutical strategy, and that's no exception for our UK strategy," Torres said. "Doctors need to be trained so they can break down barriers of access and increase patient reach."
In Colombia, where Khiron has its core operations, it took the company 10 weeks to reach its first 1,000 patients for medical prescriptions.
"But now we are increasing this number rapidly, reaching 1,500 patients per month, and we will continue to increase this reach," Torres said.
Rapid Response To Pandemic: Transformation, Adaptation, Innovation
And while the current health crisis stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected businesses, Khiron's "rapid response" resulted in achieving several milestones, Torres said.
"We rapidly understood the importance of migrating to the digital world, making a big shift into digital platforms for several categories that impacted our business units," he added.
Once the quarantine was decreed in Colombia, the company announced its telehealth service for medical cannabis patients - currently known as "Doctor Zerenia."
"We also developed a mobile app and a website to support Doctor Zerenia that is now being offered to third party physicians," Torres explained.
He added that switching to the digital world - being attractive to insurance companies - increases capacity and coverage.
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