Chris Clark, co-founder and interim CEO of Zyte Oil LLC, announced Feb. 16 that the international headquarters and production facilities of the pharmaceutical technologies company that targets plant biology will be opening in Hollister by mid-March.
Zyte Oil is partnered with Ilan Bio Cultures, an agro-biotechnology company based in Israel that is in the forefront of large-scale in-vitro plant propagation cloning technologies. The new headquarters is located at 1851 Airway Drive, near the Hollister Airport.
Clark said that by April, the company will begin manufacturing live tissue culture propagation and there will be an immediate need for 20 to 30 employees. He said that within 12 to 24 months, the company will employ up to 200 people, mostly from the local community.
“We will have a need for a large number of employees because we’re going to need them to work in transportation, logistics, packaging, fulfillment, and security. We’ll also need biologists and physicians,” he said. “We are starting with 5,000 square feet, but we are simultaneously launching a pharmaceutical product, labeled Zytecur, to the market. We are anticipating some incredible demand for that based on its medical efficacy, backed by the research that’s been coming out of a couple different countries, one of them being Israel.”
While the company works with a broad spectrum of local fruit and vegetable growers, it will also focus on the entire lifecycle system that uses plant biology to create efficacious pharmaceutical and over-the-counter products with hemp- and cannabis-derived oils. Clark and other founding members of Zyte Oil have been showing up at numerous county supervisors’ and Hollister City Council meetings and talking one-on-one with community leaders to explain their plans for locating in Hollister because of the city’s leading position to devise regulations and procedures for the cannabis movement in California.
Six of the founding members are ex-Special Forces in the U.S. military, a number of whom saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and were wounded. They said helping veterans through the nonprofit Battle Brothers Foundation is an important part of who they are that guides them in business and philanthropy and supports the company’s research while providing personal, economic and medical support to veterans as they leave the service and assimilate back into society.
Even before they must submit an application on March 15 to operate in Hollister under its new cannabis regulations, technicians and leaders from Ilan Bio have already begun working with Zyte Oil to redesign the new facility.
“We’re importing our technologies from Israel,” Clark said. “We’re in the middle of the logistics of moving machinery and laboratory systems into a redesigned facility with sterile lab build-outs, mobile laboratories and other components we need to go operational. We’re also working on launching a product we formulated onto a pharmaceutical network.”
He said the company anticipates strong demand for its product line nationwide.
“It has significant medical benefits, such as potential omission of cancer, reduction of multiple sclerosis symptoms, and epileptic seizures,” Clark said. “It comes in an oil or powder, highly purified from hemp and cannabis extract. We have strategic relationships within the cannabis industry in California to provide seeds and live tissue. And through our recent merger with Ilan Bio Cultures, we have contracts and exclusive agreements with key institutions within the government of Israel.”
Derick Crockett, co-founder (also ex-Special Forces), said San Benito County offers a unique opportunity for the company not only as a centralized shipping location, but to take advantage of hiring locally and, eventually, buying locally from cannabis and, hopefully, hemp growers.
“We offer value-adds for not just the cannabis industry, but the entire agriculture sector,” he said. “This is an ag tech firm. We’re involved in bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and a whole host of other produce. We already have relationships with growers in Hollister.”
Clark said that while Zyte Oil and Ilan are in different countries, they are essentially the same company “…in terms of our war chest in the business world. The way we’re attacking this market is that we have such a sophisticated level of technology all the way from the seed genetics to the end pharmaceutical-grade products that consumers can use,” Clark said. “The consistency of the technology that the Israelis developed offers this industry solution not to just for California, but to the entire federally-regulated cannabis laws that are going to be put into affect. We can’t tell you the exact profile of the strains that we’re dealing with from the time it’s a seed but across the entire lifecycle we’re offering complete consistency, but we’re going to be setting the standard that applies to all of cannabis.”
The company, Clark said, has already established a global commercial pipeline in the agriculture sector that will be expanding into seven or eight countries within the next 60 days in multiple crop sectors.
“A lot of these countries are eager to adopt national reforms that mimics what the Israelis are adopting to reform the medicalization of cannabis,” Clark said. “They have a significant body of legislation that is passing through the Israeli government. It may have already passed. It’s a well thought-out, tactical look at how to regulate medicalized cannabis that focuses on the medical efficacy of a plant. They’ve been studying it much longer than any other country.”
Zyte Oil also has a marketing team prepared to put together a pharmaceutical marketing package, as well as packages to retail stores, funded by a multi-million dollar round of investments. There are a couple of things that makes the operation particularly unique. As mentioned, the entire team on the U.S. side is comprised of former Marines.
“We’ve got a core team of individuals who not only succeeded in the military, but have gone on to attend some of the world’s most prestigious universities and worked at established tech companies that validated their military-academic-professional careers,” Clark said. “Our entire team has worked at the upper management levels.”
After leaving the military, Clark attended Stanford University, where he studied political science anD international relations. His academic advisor was Condolezza Rice. Another thing that makes Zyte Oil different from most companies is that all of the founders are not only former military, they are devout Christians, and not the least bit bashful about telling how their faith plays a role in the business.
“There’s really no other way to put it how this all came about other than the fact that God ordained us to have a successful enterprise,” Clark said.
In a few weeks, the company will begin its recruiting efforts through advertising in the local media and on Facebook.