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All recent news from British Sugar

Wissington glasshouse to grow plants for epilepsy medicine.

25 October 2016

British Sugar, the leading UK beet sugar producer, announces today that its horticultural business is to grow a key ingredient for the pharmaceutical sector.

This ingredient will be used in a new prescription medicine being developed to treat rare but serious forms of epilepsy in children. The medicine, known as Epidiolex, has recently completed trials at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London as well as other hospitals in the UK, Europe and the US. This contract with GW Pharmaceuticals is a further step in making this medicine more widely available.

The active ingredient in Epidiolex is known as Cannabidiol (CBD), and it is sourced from a non‐psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant family, specifically bred for medical purposes. We will start to grow these plants from 2017.

The crop will replace production of tomatoes to be phased out from November and we remain committed to meeting our existing supply commitments for tomatoes.

Paul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar said: “Sixteen years ago we realised we could use some of the heat and waste carbon dioxide generated in our Wissington sugar factory to develop a horticultural business. During this time, we have invested in our world‐class facilities and developed our expertise to deliver consistent, high quality crops season after season. This new era for our horticultural business uses all we have learned to date to further build this value stream for British Sugar and to benefit the pharmaceutical industry. “Furthermore, we are extremely proud that our new crop will make a worthwhile contribution to the control of such a debilitating childhood disease. Annually, we will produce enough of this ingredient to treat the equivalent of up to 40,000 children globally."

Galia Wilson, Chair of Dravet Syndrome UK said: ‘’Dravet syndrome is one of several rare but serious forms of epilepsy in children and adults for which there are limited treatment options. We welcome the development of any medicine that may help this complex patient group with high levels of unmet need.’’

Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact:

Sharon Fisher, Group Communications Manager,AB Sugar
07809 697906 or email: /


Chris Barrie, Citigate Dewe Rogerson, AB Sugar
020 7638 9571


British Sugar is the leading supplier to the British and Irish food and beverage markets. We operate our advanced manufacturing factories across East Anglia and the East Midlands employing over 1,500 directly at our facilities and supporting over 9,500 jobs in the wider economy. Further information can be found at

British Sugar will grow a variety of the non‐psychoactive cannabis plant family, known as M250, containing the active ingredient Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a medicinal molecule which does not produce a psychoactive effect.

British Sugar’s horticultural business produced around 140 million tomatoes annually. The business benefits from its location close to the Wissington sugar plant. More than two hundred and forty miles of piping carries hot water from the factory’s Combined Heat & Power Plant (CHP) all year round to maintain temperatures that suit the plants. Other benefits include the use of waste carbon dioxide from the sugar factory which plants use during photosynthesis. The site also harvests rainwater the glasshouse roof; over 115 million litres are collected annually to irrigate the plants.

GW Pharmaceuticals is the world leader in the scientific investigation of cannabinoid treatments. Since 1998, it has been dedicated to pioneering the development of its pipeline of clinical‐stage cannabinoid medicines to transform the lives of people with severe, and often rare, diseases. Since its creation, GW Pharmaceuticals has been inspired by patient insights and dedicated to advancing cannabinoid science through systematic scientific research. GW Pharmaceuticals has created a rich network of more than 25 partnerships with world leading scientists, researchers, and advocacy groups – and now has more than 80 GW Pharmaceuticals sponsored research publications. Rigorous drug delivery, clinical development, and manufacturing programs have enabled GW Pharmaceuticals to advance cannabinoid science, leading to a robust cannabinoid pipeline with applications in a diverse range of therapeutic areas. Founded in London, England, GW Pharmaceuticals established a U.S. headquarters in 2015 and hired a diverse team of experienced professionals in the field of epilepsy, who have a proven track record of bringing investigational medicines through regulatory approval and to market in the United States. Further information can be found at:

Epidiolex is an oral pharmaceutical formulation of pure CBD. GW Pharmaceuticals recently reported positive Phase 3 trial results for Epidiolex in Dravet syndrome and Lennox‐Gastaut Syndrome, two treatmentresistant childhood‐onset epilepsy disorders. GW anticipates submitting regulatory applications to seek approval of its medicine Epidiolex in the US, Europe and elsewhere around the world.

Dravet Syndrome UK is an independent UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults living with Dravet Syndrom and other related genetic sodium channel epilepsies through medical research, education and awareness and support. Further information can be found at: