Neptune had previously licensed the omega-3 delivery technology as part of its strategic pivot toward formulation solutions and away from its previous incarnation as a krill oil ingredient supplier. Neptune has described MaxSimil as “a novel, patented delivery platform that enhances the absorption of lipid-based and lipid-soluble nutraceuticals. MaxSimil mimics the human digestive process to deliver absorption-ready, pre-digested lipid-based products such as omega-3 fish oils.” This new agreement allows Neptune to research, manufacture, formulate, distribute and sell monoglyceride omega-3-rich ingredients in combination with cannabis and/or cannabinoid-rich hemp-derived ingredients for medical and adult use applications.
Neptune has said in the past that it believes the MaxSimil technology has the ability to enhance absorption of lipid-based and lipid soluble ingredients such as cannabinoids, essential fatty acids including EPA and DHA omega-3s, vitamins A, D, K and E, CoQ10 and others. This could be especially beneficial in increasing the absorption of ingredients which are not easily absorbed, such as cannabidiol (CBD).
“We are thinking we can do for CBD what we have already done for omega-3s,” Jim Hamilton, CEO of Neptune told NutraIngredients-USA.
Hamilton said it’s an opportunity to bring some manufacturing expertise and regulatory certainty to the CBD space, which up to now has exhibited many of the characteristics of a nascent market. Delivery forms have abounded, dosages are all over the place, and consistent quality seems to be lacking. But as the market develops, Hamilton said that a consumer base is forming that will be seeking the same kind of assurances they can rely upon for other health products in the market.
“There are so many misperceptions about what this business really is. In a recent survey about 50% of consumers said they were taking cannabis products for reasons other than their psychoactive properties. The average age of the consumer was in their 40s, and the consumer was much more diverse that what people generally assume,” Hamilton said.
“We think that ultimately we can bring some emphasis on quality and dose specificity,” he said.
Opportunities abound despite regulatory hurdles
The regulatory picture is of course still highly uncertain in the US. The consensus among advocates seems to be that a national harmonization on regulations concerning cannabis products is in the offing, but how far off that might be is anybody’s guess. Hamilton said, though, there are plenty of short term opportunities for cannabis and cannabinoid products in other markets such as Canada, Germany, Australia and Latin America.
Hamilton said Neptune is well underway with making its extraction facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec compliant with Canadian regulations on cannabis. This includes additional security measures, he said. Neptune has said that it has submitted a written application to Health Canada to produce cannabis oil under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which at this time has been confirmed by the agency as being at the Review and Security Clearance stage, the second stage of the six-stage process.