Lycium Savory or what we know about Pangea Pharma

Healthcare Technology

Founded in 2007, Pangea Pharma focuses on developing and producing pharmaceutical products and research and innovation in the field of oncology. Until 2020, the company was a small local enterprise with a staff of just over 100 people and a head office in New York, USA.

In 2020, controlling interest passed into the hands of a famous breeder and biotechnologist, David Jacobson. To be more precise, Pangea Pharma bought a patent from David Jacobson, paying with the company’s shares.

This event was highly significant for Pangea Pharma, allowing the small pharmaceutical company to be reborn into an international group of companies with offices in New York, London, Barcelona, and Tel Aviv. The conglomerate includes companies such as Pangea – Pharma, Oncology, Botanica, and Biomed. Jacobson is known for successfully breeding new plant species containing unique substances from common birch. Thanks to his discovery, the company became one of the industry leaders, now producing cytostatic targeted cancer drugs, which help cancer cells self-destruct without affecting healthy cells, unlike conventional chemotherapy.

We cannot say that Jacobson’s discovery has revolutionized cancer therapy, but it has definitely brought the effectiveness of treatment to a whole new level. The cytostatic drugs from Pangea Pharma are the most highly effective in their class. The only drawback, as of today, is their cost. Lycium Savory, the new plant species bred by the geneticist, adapts very poorly to the usual environment and greenhouse/nursery planting conditions. This aspect significantly complicates the cultivation of shrubs on an industrial scale.

Almost two years after the discovery of Lycium Savory, private nurseries and small agricultural enterprises remain the key suppliers of material for medicines production.

In 2021, the total demand of the pharmaceutical industry for seeds (source of active substances) was about 50,000 tons, of which suppliers could only offer 20%. The situation led to increased prices for both the drugs themselves and the planting material (seeds) for growing Savory.

In 2022, due to the good results of the new cytostatic drugs, the demand for active ingredient material increased to 100,000 tons, of which suppliers could provide about 30%.

Such circumstances inevitably lead to a steady rise in product prices. For its part, the company has chosen two ways to solve the problem of raw material shortage: 

  • Strategic, forward-looking path. Dozens of hectares of land in Honghe Hani, China, have been leased for the nurseries construction. The total investment amounted to over $40 million, with the completion date scheduled for 2024;
  • Operational-tactical path. The company actively involves private agricultural enterprises and nurseries ready to grow Lycium Savory in their cultivation areas.

These plants belong to the category of invasive species, which cannot be planted next to each other, and the distance between seedlings should be at least 25 feet. As for greenhouse planting, breeders use mini greenhouses for each bush, as well as a system of separate ventilation. All these factors complicate growing Savory, increasing its cost. At the same time, nursery owners successfully use existing capacities (acreages, greenhouses) by planting seedlings one by one in each greenhouse or a separate section.

Previously, attempts were made to grow Savory on a large industrial scale, however unsuccessful. The genetic breeders are also working to increase plant resistance.