Welsh farmer helping to fight Alzheimer's by growing high-altitude daffodils to combat disease
Welsh farmer helping fight Alzheimer's by growing high-altitude daffodils which have been proven to help combat the disease.
Kevin Stephens, 51, is aiming to become a world-leader in the production of a pioneering drug by farming the flowers on the Black Mountains in Monmouthshire.
The daffodils are grown in order to harvest galantamine, a compound that has been proven to be an effective treatment for vascular dementia and Alzheimer's by helping to ease symptoms.
The process is already used in China and Bulgaria, but Mr Stephens says his plants contain a much higher concentration of the chemical due to the altitude they are grown at.
The farmer, who owns fields at more than 1,000ft above sea level, said: "We had to work out which daffodils to grow.
"There's about 30,000 varieties of daffodil and we found about a dozen that had the right genetics.”
Stephens established his own bioresearch firm, Agroceutical, in 2012 and is now hoping to get the backing of big pharmaceutical companies so he can begin mass-producing the drug.
Agroceutical currently has a licence to produce enough galantamine to help 9,000 Alzheimer's patients every year.