WINSTON-Kings, Inc. and Pilot Therapeutics Holdings, Inc. plan to introduce high-value, specialty crops grown in North Carolina for the food, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

In addition, Kings announced the establishment of its global headquarters in Winston-Salem. Kings is a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated British Foods, a U.K. company with $6.4 billion in annual revenues. The group is one of Europe’s largest food companies with a wide range of brands and products in the food sector, and an increasingly strong presence in advanced research and technology, where it is turning natural products into ingredients for the food, personal care and pharmaceutical industries.

“Because of our synergies with Pilot and our belief that Pilot’s products have tremendous market-growth potential, we are locating our global headquarters in Winston-Salem,” Andrew Hebard, Kings’ chief executive officer, said in a statement. “In addition, we recognize that the fertile ground of North Carolina could be conducive to growing specialty crops and with the support of the state’s proactive agricultural community, North Carolina is an appropriate place to build agri-based businesses.”

Hebard added that, in cooperation with N.C. State University, Kings has contracted with state growers to plant test crops this spring, with the intention of planting significant acreage of its specialty crops, including crops for Pilot’s products, next year. Kings contracts approximately 250,000 acres of premium “identity preserved” crops directly with growers around the world. Introducing new high-value, specialty crops to North Carolina could have a major impact in the agricultural growing and processing community, Hebard predicted.

Pilot, a Winston-Salem-based specialty pharmaceutical company with a portfolio of pharmaceutical products and clinically validated over-the-counter medical food products, plans to be a primary beneficiary of today’s announcements by Kings, the company says.

“By collaborating with Kings, Pilot ensures superior and consistent quality of the specialty oils that are the active ingredients in Pilot’s botanical drug and medical food products,” Floyd H. Chilton, president and chief executive officer of Pilot, said in a statement. “Kings’ rigorous, scientific ‘soil to oil’ approach to crop sourcing and extract delivery is required by and perfectly complements Pilot’s rigorous pharmaceutical approach to natural product development.”

Kings: www.kings.co.uk

Pilot Therapeutics:
www.pilott.com