Henrico-based company looks to build market in hemp-derived health products
A Henrico County-based company that wants to establish itself in the market for hemp-derived, cannabidiol health products said it has introduced its first product and reached a sales agreement.
Exactus Inc., which has an office in the Innsbrook Corporate Center, said this week that it has introduced a tincture — an herbal extract — derived from hemp, and the company has won its first purchase order from a customer in the health and nutritional medical industry.
Exactus did not disclose the name of the new product brand nor of the customer, citing competitive reasons.
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a compound found in the hemp plant, a relative of marijuana. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive but has been shown to have some therapeutic applications such as anti-inflammatory properties and pain relief.
Exactus says its goal is to introduce CBD products in an ethical manner.
“We want to become the most trusted name in the CBD space, and I think we have the capacity to do that,” said Philip Young, the CEO of Exactus.
The company originally was founded to develop point-of-care health diagnostic tools, but it has since moved into the burgeoning CBD market, especially after the passage last year of a federal farm bill that lifted federal restrictions on hemp farming.
“In a very short period of time, we have pivoted to the CBD space,” said Young, who, before joining Exactus in 2016, held executive roles with several other biotech firms that were based in the Richmond region, including Insmed, Osteologix and AmpliPhi Biosciences Corp.
“We have created a new company vision.”
With the lifting of hemp restrictions, the market for CBD products is expected to grow. Citing industry research, Exactus estimates the U.S. market could grow to $16 billion to $22 billion by 2025, up from estimates of $800 million to $2 billion in 2018.
Exactus is in the middle of an equity investment round. The company reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in February that it had raised $1.15 million out of a planned $3.6 million raise.
Exactus has partnered with Ceed2Med, a Florida-based company that extracts and processes CBD from hemp grown in Oregon. Ceed2Med acquired a controlling ownership interest in Exactus in January.
Young said the companies are working together on new CBD products, which could include tinctures, edibles, capsules, topical solutions and animal health products.
“Everything we are developing is made with 100 percent organic hemp oil from industrial hemp grown according to the new standards set in the farm bill,” he said. The company’s products will include QR codes that enable customers to trace it from seed to farm to finished product.
“One of the key things that we bring to the table is the ability to assure physicians and patients and anyone using our products that what we say is in the bottle is in the bottle,” Young said.