CBDFollow Company Spotlight: Santé Laboratories
Describe how and why you got started:
Santé Laboratories, an Austin, Texas-based lab, was founded in 2018 by drug delivery and analytical scientists and businesspeople with a singular goal to elevate the hemp industry. Over the last 2 years, we developed and commercialize a drug delivery technology to render cannabinoids shelf-stable, bioavailable, and water-miscible to address a fundamental gap in compliant and retail-friendly goods. Our contract lab services are a result of necessity due to the lack of traditional analytical labs offering hemp testing which left Santé to use cannabis laboratories. Cannabis and hemp labs, that we refer to as “recreational laboratories” only offer limited validation with less acuity, when acuity counts the most. This created challenges in our cGMP operations where the quality control unit required analytical accuracy, repeatability, and validation. Santé offers a best-in-class option to ensure that your product adheres to regulatory and safety requirements. Our persistent focus to raise the bar, leverage good science, and responsibly shape new standards of excellence through hemp testing and product development is something we’re very excited to share with our customers.
What makes Santé different from other laboratories?
Santé Laboratories is the first and largest bio-hemp contract research and testing organization in the State of Texas. As the first and most expansive scope of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation for hemp-related testing services in Texas, our Austin-based team works hard to develop, perform, and commercialize through AOAC/ICH method validation every test we offer our customers. Serving bio-health industries subject to rigorous quality, performance, and dependability is not uncharted territories for us. We’ve had the privilege to facilitate innovation and product development for a wide variety of small and mid-size bio-health companies where quality is foundational and subject matter expertise in drug delivery, chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC), and analytical chemistry is a prerequisite. And we pride ourselves on having the highest quality testing and lab services for all customer archetypes whether it’s a farmer or pharmaceutical company. We understand who we serve and most importantly, we believe testing and research needs differ from customer to customer.
Who is the typical Santé Customer?
We work with a lot of different customers, from seed to retail, ensuring high-quality testing services are available to everyone. We have spoken to a number of customers that unfortunately have had traumatic experiences with other labs, costing them product loss due to non-compliance due to false-positives or worse, false-negatives for THC. This is a well-known, growing, and distressing trend in the recreational testing space. Most of our customers come to Santé Labs because they want better. And we believe being better still matters and this is ever so critical today. At Santé, our cannabinoids assay has an incredibly low limit of quantification (LOQ), which means our customers will see cannabinoids that they never seen reported by other labs. A low LOQ is especially important to ensure that all minor cannabinoids are detected and reported but also to verify that THC is below the legal limit. Customer and lab trust are very important to us and we believe this can only be earned through good science and a genuine commitment. Know your lab, know what they have been accredited for, and ask questions. This is a relationship business and it should never feel one-sided.
What challenges do you see in the future?
Testing harmonization and inter-lab collaboration need to happen sooner than later, otherwise the industry will remain stagnant and continue to pose risk to the entire supply chain. AOAC International and ASTM have stepped up and done a terrific job to date by introducing standardization for select test methods and characterization. The Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPR) bravely introduced by AOAC for quantification of cannabinoids and pesticides is a major leap forward. However, implementation and standardization are next and it will take multi-state effort to ensure laboratories meet these standards.
Lastly, testing requirements vary by state. For example, the microbiology panel for ingestible products in the State of Texas is unique (campylobacter) compared to the Nevada state hemp panel. This creates challenges for the consumer-facing product across state lines and requires labs to remain up to date on multi-state regulations.
How do you help your retailers sell their products?
We work with brands and manufacturers to ensure the products they intend to sell in a commercial setting are compliant and safe. After we determine what our customer needs, we begin testing and provide an in-depth, easy-to-read certificate of analysis (COAs) to promote their products with confidence. This certificate can include their own QR code in order to link back to their website to verify the lot prior to purchase. In addition, with our vast network, we can help connect them with new retailers that trust Santé Laboratories to test their brands.
What testing services are you currently performing and what can we expect in the future?
Santé Laboratories performs a number of traditional and non-traditional testing services, all of which have been validated for your peace of mind. Multiple panels are available for cannabinoids (potency), terpenes, pesticides, residual solvents, heavy metals, and microbiological examinations to meet a variety of state and international requirements. In addition, we offer physicochemical shelf-life testing, particle sizing, and hand sanitizer analysis. As mentioned before, Santé Labs is a bio-hemp Contract Research Organization (CRO), therefore we can also support basic to advanced research and product development at all stages. We will continue to expand our services, to be faster and more accessible to all customer types.
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