Local News

Two Companies, N.C. Farmers Join Forces To Cultivate Crops That Cure

Posted May 21, 2002

— A partnership has been created between farmers and researchers to grow crops that cure.

Two international companies,

Pilot Therapeutics

and Kings Inc., announced Tuesday at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh that they have big plans for the state. It all depends on getting oil from a family of plants called borage.

The oil from the plants would be used to produce drugs and medical food products to treat asthma, stroke, heart disease and cancer.

"What a great deal for the North Carolina farmers, the potential to help tens of millions of sufferers of these diseases, said Ski Chilton, chief executive officer of Pilot Therapeutics.

As the plan moves forward, Kings Inc. will contract with farmers in North Carolina, where borage should grow well using existing equipment and techniques. Those plans include research relationships for universities and a growing relationship with farmers.

Officials said the value of the plants already outpaces some commonly known crops.

"If these farmers get to contact with you all at Kings, if they do the job right, they may make two or three times as much as they are making on soybeans," former Gov. Jim Hunt said .

Right now, there are 2,000 acres of the crop being grown commercially. Both companies said there is demand for about 50,000 acres.


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