Greetings and salutations:
Master of Ceremonies, Dr. The Honourable Fenton Ferguson; Minister of Health; the Most Honourable Sir Kenneth Hall, Former Governor General of Jamaica and his wife, The Most Honourable Lady Rheima Hall; Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corpse; Members of Parliament and the KSAC; Leaders of the Private and Public Sector; Members of the Health and Scientific Communities; Other Distinguished Guest; Ladies and Gentlemen: Good Evening.
Just over a year ago, we launched the Bio-Tech R&D Institute, as a major catalyst for the development of the Jamaica’s indigenous Bio-resources, particularly our agriculture based resources. This was a bold move which signaled our profound commitment to Jamaica as well as our interest and capacity to play an important role in the development of a new science based multi-billion dollar global industry.
These agri-based secondary and tertiary products are being developed by the Bio-Tech R&D Institute whose mandate as a first priority, is to develop and commercialize nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and pharmaceuticals from Jamaica’s indigenous medicinal plants. As most of us are aware Jamaica has over eighty-four (84) of the one hundred and sixty (160) well established and globally recognized medicinal plants of the world.
To date only 2 of these 84 medicinal plants have been commercialized as pharmaceutical products; these are Periwinkle (by Canada) and of course Ganja based on the work of West, Lockhart and myself. More will be said later about some other significant developments, which will be made available later this year. The records will indicate that we have been able to move the commercial nutraceutical development of our medicinal plant product resources from approximately 2% to approximately 25% in 1 year.
We estimate that we have created part time and full time jobs over the past year for over thirty (30) non-technical persons (including those who are farmers and those who have been able to reap what they have not sown).
In addition, we have been able to appoint 5 PhD Scientists and at least 8 other graduate technical personnel, in addition to part time assistants. As the project develops, we estimate that the number of jobs will grow by at least 25% over the next year, based on our development plans. It should be noted that the expenditure related to these activities is approximately J$12 million for reaping, processing and delivery of products.
Unofficial data made available to me (since there is no official data) indicates that in 2010, we exported approximately J$3 million worth of raw medicinal plant materials, and imported just over J$2 billion worth of nutraceuticals from several of the well known nutraceutical multi-marketing and pyramid schemes, as well as the official importation of various brands for sale in the retail sector. Like so many things in Jamaica, obtaining official and accurate data is highly impossible because of the myriad of schemes and suitcase operators.
At this time, I must pause to recognize the many persons who directly and indirectly have contributed to this realization in so many ways: These include our traditional herbalists, the users of herbal products, and our many healthcare practitioners and the research scientists who helped to pave the way.
Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, so far, we have been identified as the first science based nutraceutical industry which has been born in the Caribbean, using indigenous medicinal plant resources for our development.
While it must be recognized that many players have over the years attempted small scale development of the products, it is to be noted that the difference between previous efforts and ours is that our nutraceutical product development has been built on solid scientific data and our formulations have been certified according to the FDA approved guidelines, and manufactured under good manufacturing procedures (cGMP).
In fact, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s office has signed off on the relevant certificate of free sale, which gives approval for our products to be sold in the USA or exported to other countries with the blessing of the USA. Based on the free sale certification, the products have also been duly endorsed by the Jamaican Mission in the USA, solidifying the quality of our products and the associated rigorous production and manufacturing standards by which these products have been manufactured.
This evening, it is my distinct pleasure to announce that not only are we launching our flagship product – Alpha Prostate Formula 1 (developed from Ball Moss); but six (6) additional nutraceuticals which form the basis of a large potential domestic and export market, and import substitution for which we are expecting to get significant assistance from Caribbean Export Development Agency, whose representative from Barbados is present and will bring remarks later.
If we think back about how all these developments have come about, we will recall that just over 1 year ago at the launch of the Bio-Tech R&D Institute, a promise was made by me to develop a nutraceutical from Ball Moss which was christened – Alpha Prostate Formula.
This product, as you will recall, was reported as a half way house to the development of the anti-cancer drugs which were identified in the Ball Moss. It was noted that nutraceuticals should be pursued since they do not undergo the long, rigorous development time as pharmaceuticals; or the large investments which pharmaceuticals require, which can take 10 to 20 years; and estimated US$500 million to US$1.5 billion, respectively.
I am happy to announce that based on our research, Ball Moss has now been added to the recognized major indigenous medicinal plants of the world and is now the 85th such major medicinal plant for Jamaica.
Not only has Ball Moss and it isolates demonstrate significant anti-cancer activity in vitro and in vivo, but recent work presented by me at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) meeting has clearly demonstrated that the Ball Moss has demonstrated its potential as, not only a major new potential chemo-therapeutic agent but also, a new chemo-preventative agent against prostate cancer.
I would like to strongly emphasize that it is our steadfast commitment to produce products that are proven to be scientifically safe for consumption and effective for the ailments they are designed to ameliorate. As such, extensive toxicological studies were carried out on the products, especially Alpha Prostate Formula 1, which showed no adverse health related effects.
It should also be noted that bioactivity and toxicity tests have been undertaken by the IHV Department of the University of Maryland Medical School, as well as the Greenebaum Cancer Centre.
We have made significant strides in the bioactivity evaluation of some additional plants, such as Ginger, Annatto and Bissy, for example, which have produced some very interesting bioactivity results, but these and other announcements will be made at appropriate times during this year, since we promise to keep the public fully informed of our R&D activities.
The products being launched tonight include:
- Our flagship product – Alpha Prostate Cancer Formula 1, which has been developed to promote prostate health
- “Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed” supplement, which traditionally has been mainly used for the management of cancers. We have evaluated its bioactivity and have found that Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed is approximately 40% more bioactive than the others on the market.
- “Joint Flex Formula” supplement, which improves elasticity and movement in the joint and connective tissues of the body.
- “Women’s Complete Formula”, which supports the mature woman’s overall health and well-being; with added nutrients for menopausal and post menopausal health.
- “Men’s Complete Formula”, that supports men’s overall health and well-being.
- “Aloe Complex Formula” supplement; a mild laxative, which reduces inflammation and enhances colon health.
- “Anti-Stress B&C with Adrenal Formula”; a unique formula to enhance the health of the nervous system.
Bringing these products to market was not only costly, but very challenging in several ways. And we have been told by the experts that we have done a remarkable job in producing all these products in approximately 1 year.
This, you will agree, ladies and gentlemen, represents a solid and formidable start to a new major indigenous industry for Jamaica and the Caribbean.
The Bio-Tech R&D Institute Limited is committed to bringing to market at least six (6) additional new products each year. We have started to implement this promise, and will have ready for market by late March another two (2) products: One specifically formulated to assist with the management of Diabetes and the other; Jamaican Noni, as a “tonic in a capsule”.
Working Capital Support to Date
So far, approximately J$20 million has been spent on the development and roll out of the manufacturing and marketing operations of the Bio-Tech R&D Institute. Specifically, this amount has been expended on the purchase and processing of raw materials, the formulation and blending, registration, certification and acquisition of specialized products and services.
Quality Control and Assurance
The demand for quality nutraceuticals based on the US-based Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Standards has been growing dramatically over the past 10 years. We are pleased to announce that the manufacturing processes and quality standards of our products meet all the requirements of the FDA and Jamaica’s Ministry of Health.
We are enhancing our partnership with a number of local and international institutions including the University of the West Indies; University of Technology; Research Triangle Institute (USA); University of Maryland, (USA); Materia Medica Institute (China); First Priority Manufacturing (USA); and Arizona Granulation (USA) to ensure that we achieve our objectives.
This is in keeping with our commitment to develop quality nutraceuticals, not only for the domestic and wider Caribbean markets, but also for the international market, which has witnessed phenomenal growth in demand for these products.
Bio-Tech R&D Institute understands the importance of making these products available to these markets, and has been appointing agents to assist with the sale and distribution of its nutraceuticals locally, in North America, Asia and Europe. Locally, we are partnering with pharmacies, health food stores and supermarkets to make the products available to Jamaicans.
It should be noted that partly because of its novelty, we have had requests for the sale of the entire first batch of the Alpha Prostate Formula 1 in the USA; but decided against it in order to give the Jamaican society and the Caribbean, the benefits of the first batch of these products, which of course, are currently in limited supply. Another large batch has just been produced for distribution to the Diaspora and can be initially accessed through the Bio-Tech website.
We have gone further to concretize our local commitments, and you will hear later in the programme, about a young, dynamic local pharmacist who requested me to sell him the entire first batch of our nutraceutical products for the local market because of his commitment to the cause and faith in the quality of the products. We have agreed to do so and you will hear more about it when he makes his remarks later.
Eden Garden’s Redevelopment & Brand Extension
Let me point out here that we are currently embarking on the redevelopment and transformation of Eden Gardens into a premier, one-stop wellness and lifestyle centre which will also offer Health Tourism products by the end of this year. Part of this development envisages, among other things, the establishment of a health store and wellness and lifestyle facilities, which will also enable us to use Eden Gardens as the distribution centre for our nutraceuticals and other health-related products.
In fact, you will notice that we have taken the strategic decision to market our nutraceuticals under the Eden Gardens brand. This will allow us to not only leverage this well recognized brand across a range of product offerings, but will also alert consumers to the fact that by consuming our products, they are supporting an authentic and reputable Jamaican brand; linked to wellness and positive lifestyles.
Medicinal Herbal Tea Blends
Ladies and gentlemen, to demonstrate the seriousness and importance with which we are taking this development and, by extension the Eden Gardens Brand; this evening we are also pleased to introduce you to Eden Garden’s Medicinal Herbal Tea blends. These blends, like the nutraceuticals, have also been developed based on scientific data and principles and may be used as an alternative or compliment to the nutraceutical capsules. These tea blends are:
- “Guinea Hen Weed” (Petiveria Alliacea)
- “Guinea Hen Weed & Ball Moss” (Tillandsia recurvata)
- “Bissy”(Kola Nut)
- “Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) & Cerasee” (Momordica Charantia or Bitter Melon)
- “Soursop (Annona muricata) & Ginger”.
The traditional medicinal qualities of these powerful Jamaican medicinal plant products are widely known. However, we have and continued to undertake scientific research on these and other medicinal plant materials used in our products, and our preliminary findings point to the efficacy of these tea blends for wellness and their disease fighting properties.
These herbal medicinal teas have been blended and manufactured in keeping with the finest manufacturing and traceability standards. We stand by the quality of these products, and believe that the local, regional and international markets will savor each tea blend; which will be packaged for sale and distribution in a variety of market segments, beginning tonight.
Bio-Tech: Plans and Potential Benefits for Jamaica
Ladies and gentlemen, we are sure of the potentials and prospects of Bio-Tech R&D Institute. As we have successfully demonstrated here this evening that we take our commitment to nation building very seriously.
Indeed, Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, as its name suggests, ours is a biotechnology institute which, like others, has been proven to be one of the best ways of science being used to spur and generate economic growth and wealth creation.
As stated before, and you will hear again, an important facet of Jamaica’s future lies in its indigenous medicinal plants resources for the production of nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals for the health sector. This view is shared by such noted regional economic thinkers as Professor Emeritus Neville Duncan, who has spoken to the potential benefits to be derived from a vibrant and structured nutraceutical industry in Jamaica and the region: You will hear all of this from the man himself.
Bio-Tech & Wealth Creation
The Bio-Tech R&D Institute promises wealth creation for all its shareholders, as well as the country, through:
- Job creation, particularly in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors
- Non-traditional export
- Import substitution
- Stimulation of entrepreneurship and driving the SME sector.
As you can see ladies and gentlemen, this is a very important industry that we have strategically chosen to formally establish and enhance.
For this potential to be realized, however, investment and total government support are critical. We therefore encourage members of the financial sector present here this evening to come on board, and join with us to develop this industry for the economic development of our country.
In this regard, I am pleased to inform you that we plan to launch an IPO next year to give Jamaicans and Diaspora members a chance to invest in this lucrative and exciting venture.
The potential earnings from this industry can be anywhere from US$500 billion, growing to a trillion US dollar in the next 5 years: The question is: Are we ready to make the investments required to grow our share of this lucrative industry?
Basics of Bio-Tech’s Value Proposition
Bio-Tech’s product development is based on perceived market demand for products that will aid in the management of the increased prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases globally; and overall health and wellness needs.
It must also be noted that nutraceuticals, like pharmaceuticals, can never produce their intended effects on everyone all the time. In addition, there is no pharmaceutical drug which is without potential major or minor effects on some people (consider, LIPITOR, the world’s largest prescribed medicine) and the same may apply to some nutraceuticals if they are not measured for dosage, and manufactured under good manufacturing standards.
Finally, a good reason for using nutraceuticals and medicinal herbal teas rather than picking bushes by the handful is that we do not know how much we are using and we could end up harming ourselves, and what could be a useful herb may have no healing effect.
In closing, it is my distinct honour and pleasure to lead the launch of Bio-Tech R&D Institute’s first line of nutraceutical products and medicinal herbal tea blends.
I see great possibilities for the development of this new non-traditional industry.
We at Bio-Tech R&D Institute Limited are particularly blessed with a diverse and talented Governance and Management Team. Please permit me here to recognize the dynamic members of the Board of Bio-Tech R&D Institute:
- Professor Errol Morrison, University President/Scientist and Endocrinologist
- Dr. Keith Amiel, Business Leader/Veterinary Surgeon
- Dr. Joseph Bryant, (USA) Research Scientist/Manager
- Dr. Herbert Lowe, Consultant/Manager/Entrepreneur
- Professor Gary Loake, (UK) Applied Research Scientist
- Dr. Ivor Crandon, the only Consultant Neurosurgeon in the Caribbean, who will be spearheading clinical trials
- Dr. Trevor Hamilton, Business Consultant
- Dr. Perceval Bahado-Singh, Director of Research & Development
- Mr. Cyril Bridge, Director-Production/ marketing
- And myself Research Scientist/ Executive Chairman.
In a real way, I see this evening’s event as the start of an important thrust which has the potential to spur sustainable development and entrepreneurial ventures in our country’s agricultural and health sectors, through the provision of value-added nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical products and services.
Ladies and gentlemen I am very excited about what we can do together, when our heads and hearts are in the right place. Our future and that of our children demand that we engage our creativity and innovative spirit to unearth our finest human and material potentials for the greater good of our people. Let’s therefore partner to ensure the growth and development of a large and sustainable nutraceutical industry for all of us here in Jamaica. We have everything to gain so let’s go for it!
I thank you!