An Interview with EcoGen LaboratoriesCannabis Tech had the opportunity to sit down with Joseph Nunez, the Co-Founder of EcoGen Laboratories, as well as, Derek Du Chesne, the Chief Growth Officer, to discuss their explosive growth.
Who is EcoGen Labs?
EcoGen Laboratories has grown from a mere eight employees a few years ago into a company with over 170 employees today and is the largest vertically integrated manufacturer and producer of specialty hemp-derived ingredients in the United States. Unique in the market, the company creates all its own equipment in-house. Unlike many suppliers who rely on strategies such as repurposing equipment, EcoGen doesn’t need to retrofit or accommodate for any machinery, as each piece is designed and created by their team.
Through refining every part of their process, the company eliminates as much denigration to the biomass they extract from as possible. In addition to this, their extraction process does not simply harvest CBD; it collects all the cannabinoid and terpene content possible from the biomass. This efficiency allows them to be a very cost-effective supplier while also providing a product with exceptional longevity.
EcoGen is a leader in white label and finished goods manufacturing. The company has manufactured products for the world’s leading brands which can be seen on the shelves at CVS and Sephora from tinctures, gummies, soft gels, to beauty topicals and hair products.
Although supplying CBD was most of the business enjoyed by EcoGen in 2018, now there are several other minor cannabinoids which are being explored by the market, such as CBN, CBG, and CBC. All of these compounds are currently being revealed to have great pharmacological potential.
In a market that has yet to be regulated, EcoGen is one of the few companies looking to keep consumers safe.
Achievements in Cannabis Genetics
In addition to offering the best service in their field, EcoGen has also spent a significant amount of time and resources investing in genetics. One of the breakthroughs they’re approaching is a mutation of cannabis which is impervious to being pollinated, similar to a seedless watermelon. This advancement would be instrumental, as no matter how much pollen plants were exposed to, they still wouldn’t become pollinated.
Pollinated crops are an issue for growers because not only do they produce half of the cannabinoids that unpollinated plants do, 75% of their biomass is made up of seeds alone. Du Chesne elaborated that they “sold out of the first 30 million seeds in just three weeks.” The next batch sold out in ten days.
Varied Paths to Cannabis
Du Chesne once hosted a Disney show, worked as an actor, as a producer, and every other essential role in the film industry for more than ten years, but even with that success, he was always affected by the illness of his mother, who was so limited by her ailments that she couldn’t take care of herself. However, CBD changed her life.
Soon after witnessing his mother’s health improvement, Du Chesne started his own marketing and supply chain company for brands wanting to enter the CBD space, Healing Ventures. This venture made him aware of all the manufacturing issues plaguing the industry.
Finally, after being a customer of EcoGen Laboratories and appreciating their standards and independence, Du Chesne partnered with the company. Today, he oversees everything from finances to product development and expansion into international markets.
Bringing the Experience and Expertise
Before starting EcoGen, Joseph Nunez was in the manufacturing side of the industry, manufacturing extraction equipment. He made larger and larger scale equipment until he was making machines too advanced for the cannabis industry. It was the popularity of hemp which allowed Nunez to truly exercise his experience, with a lack of burdensome regulations for hemp, he could work with much larger quantities.
While hydrocarbon cannabis extraction machines typically only process between 100-150 lbs/run, in the hemp industry, Nunez could produce equipment to handle between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds per run. During the early stages of development of the sector, Nunez’s company was the only one who could offer such a service.
The Technology Behind EcoGen
Everything produced by the company is engineered to scale, so Nunez mentioned he is confident offering his technology to companies as large as Coca-Cola. EcoGen’s technology efficiently processes massive amounts of product, mining all the cannabinoids and terpenes until less than 1% remains in the biomass, while still retaining the quality.
Already EcoGen is capable of individually harvesting lesser-known cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp. As they have more time to develop their research, it seems unavoidable that they will grow to become the leading company to offer these compounds, just as they are for CBD.
As far as for the future, EcoGen will soon be offering strains particularly rich in different cannabinoids, starting with CBD and CBG. They are also already talking to brands that immediately will launch them into 200+ different countries once the deal is finalized.