Two Israeli firms seek to cash in with Dead Sea cannabis cosmetics

Together Pharma, a manufacturer of medical cannabis, joins forces with skincare firm Premier Dead Sea Cosmetics to create new line of products

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative: A worker tends to cannabis plants at a growing facility for the Tikun Olam company near Safed, August 31, 2010. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)
Illustrative: A worker tends to cannabis plants at a growing facility for the Tikun Olam company near Safed, August 31, 2010. (Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Israel’s Together Pharma Ltd., a manufacturer and distributor of medical cannabis, has signed an agreement with local skincare firm Premier Dead Sea Cosmetics Laboratories to cooperate in the creation of a line of therapeutic and cosmetic products that combine Dead Sea minerals with the cannabidiol compound, CBD, extracted from cannabis plants.

As part of the accord, the two companies will set up a joint venture that will be based in Europe, according to a filing on Monday to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, where Together’s shares are traded.

Premier will supply the joint company with creams based on Dead Sea minerals, while Together will supply the joint company with the CBD compound derived from cannabis.

CBD is a non-psychoactive antioxidant extracted from the cannabis plant that is rapidly gaining importance due to its numerous benefits to humans’ overall well-being. Unlike THC, which is the part of the cannabis leaf that makes you high, CBD is a nontoxic, anti-inflammatory substance that is very well tolerated by the body with few side effects, researchers say.

A woman reads a newspaper while floating in the Dead Sea, May 20, 2017. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

The deal will come into force only when the companies find that CBD can indeed be integrated into the cosmetic products of Premier, to the satisfaction of both parties, the filing said. Testing of the compound has already started at a Permier facility in Italy.

The two companies estimate that the manufacturing of the joint products have a “big marketing potential,” the filing said.

Initially the two companies will use subcontractors to process the raw materials into a final product and package the goods. In a second stage, the joint venture will set up a packaging and processing plant. For this purpose, Together will provide the joint company with a 2 million euro loan. Together will hold 51 percent of the joint company, while Premier will hold a 49% stake.

After the plant has been set up, Premier will be able to use it for manufacturing its other cosmetics products as well, the filing said.

Via its subsidiary Globus Pharma Ltd., Together has a government franchise to grow and market medical marijuana in Israel.

Israel is known as a pioneer in cannabis research, and there are government estimates that the economy could reap $285 million to $1.14 billion a year from the industry. An estimated 50 Israeli medical marijuana companies work in cultivating plants or producing delivery devices for the drug in Israel, according to Reuters.

However, exports are being held up by a ban enforced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, causing the makers of cannabis-based products to set up shop in foreign destinations.

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