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BeeVital is a world-leader in research and in the development of propolis – based products.  James Fearnley CEO of BeeVital launched his first propolis company in 1990, creating the BeeVital brand in 2002, with a commitment to ethical practices at its core. James has a passion for bees, propolis and other medicines from the beehive. In 2011 he set up the Apiceutical Research Centre (ARC) to explore the medicinal properties of all the bee products and to research the most sustainable forms of beekeeping. ARC organised the first UK conference about apiceuticals (medicines from the beehive) in 2011, Apiceuticals: Medicine of the Future? at the university of Strathclyde as well as  the first  international conferences ever focussing on the medicinal properties of Propolis: In Human and Bee Health also at the university of Strathclyde.

BeeVital Founder and CEO James Fearnley
James Fearnley – Founder and CEO of BeeVital

In 2016 BeeVital was responsible for starting the International Propolis Research Group IPRG designed to stimulate and connect research into propolis round the world. It held its first highly successful  international conference in Bulgaria in 2018   James represents the UK on the ISO ( International Standards Organisation)  Bee Products  committee which is setting standards for propolis and other bee products worldwide.  

James, the founder of BeeVital has been researching the medicinal properties of propolis for more than 30 years with a passion which he says has never dimmed. He has collaborated with major universities in this country including Oxford, Manchester, Strathclyde, York, Leeds Beckett and Bradford as well as universities round the world. At home at BeeVital he has built a research laboratory and team now carrying out and developing its own research and product development programme alongside high-quality customer care.

James Fearnley

James Fearnley, CEO, launched BeeVital  in 2002, having discovered the exceptional properties of propolis more than thirty years ago and has been researching this amazing substance from the beehive ever since. He has collaborated with major universities, including Oxford, Manchester, Strathclyde, Leeds Beckett, York, and Bradford, uncovering some ground-breaking findings in relation to the therapeutic properties of propolis.  He has contributed to over 30  peer – reviewed scientific articles including:

James is the author of the principal work in English about Propolis : Bee Propolis – Natural Healing from the Hive. He is also author of Propolis in Oral healthcare with dentist Dr. Philip Wander. James has a passion for bees, propolis and other medicines from the beehive. He started ARC Apiceutical Research Centre in 2011 which combines research into the medicinal properties of all bee products with new approaches to sustainable beekeeping. In 2016 he created the International Propolis Research Group which brings together researchers from round the globe for annual international conferences. He  represents the UK on the ISO ( International Standards Organisation)  Bee Products committee which is setting standards for propolis and other bee products worldwide.

In 2015 James’s reverence and passion for the honeybee has led to the  creation of the BeeArc project an ambitious project to build a threefold  exhibition, research and sustainability centre inspired by the honeybee. The 7-million-pound centre is planned to open in 2026  “I hope and believe that this centre once built can help us to explore ‘The Nature of the Future’ in every sense, socially, economically, culturally and spiritually through the prism of the honeybee.

In 2011 James founded  the Apiceutical Research Centre, an organisation with the symbiotic aims of developing sustainable medicines and promoting natural beekeeping.  In 2016 in collaboration with SIPBS (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences) ARC held an international conference in Glasgow on Propolis in Human and Bee Health. Over 100 researchers attended this conference where more than 40 papers from over 20 countries were presented, covering many aspects of this remarkable substance and its importance in the maintenance of both human and bee health. The 2016 conference demonstrated that there is a growing community of researchers around the world committed to understanding propolis and developing its medicinal potential. Soon after this conference a small group met who were determined to build on the energy and enthusiasm generated in Glasgow. Out of the momentum created by the conference the International Propolis Research Group was formed.

In 2016 James  with a small group of international researchers  founded the International Propolis Research Group ( IPRG). This is an international organisation working with Researchers, Apiculturists, Manufacturers and Formulators, to explore the many properties of propolis in both human and bee health, and in agriculture. It also encourages collaboration across academic disciplines and between researchers and industry and is creating and maintaining a database of research. IPRG also organises international conferences dedicated to further understanding and exploring the qualities of propolis.

In 2021 James founded the Global Bee Medicine Group, with  Assistant Professor Dr. Ali Timucin Atayoglu, President of the International Federation of Apitherapy and Dr. Andres Castillo Montenegro, FELAPI (Federacion Latinoamericana de Apiterapia.) Stimulated by the Covid crisis, the Global Bee Medicine Group was created to develop online conferences and webinars of immediate relevance & provide a meeting place for the growing community of researchers, medics and producers working to bring knowledge of the well-known properties of bee products to a wider audience.

Alongside his work as CEO at BeeVital and the projects outlined above, James is currently developing an exciting centre dedicated to the honeybee. BeeArc will include a discovery centre, exploring the social, cultural and economic meaning of the honeybee and its relationship with humans. It will also include a research centre and a model of co-operative living and working.

At BeeVital James has built a team committed to ethical working, excellence in research and product development and with the highest quality customer care. The BeeVital team includes Dr. Shankar Katekhaye, Director of Research and Quality. Shankar is a graduate in Pharmacy with a Masters in Natural Products & holds a doctorate in Phytochemistry & Pharmacognosy. BeeVital have been recently given major research funding to develop their research team and to progress a key area of their work with propolis – the fight against antibiotic resistance.

Shankar Katekhaye

The BeeVital team includes Dr. Shankar Katekhaye, Director of Research and Quality for Nature’s Laboratory which encompasses the BeeVital brand. Shankar is a graduate in Pharmacy with a Masters in Natural Products & holds a doctorate in Phytochemistry & Pharmacognosy. Shankar undertakes research into the biological activity of propolis and the quality control of BeeVital products. The company’s in-house laboratory was established by Shankar and is able to offer analytical services and contract research in the field of apiceuticals and herbal medicines. Delivering quality medicine is at the heart or Shankar’s ethos, bringing together traditional knowledge and cutting-edge research. Shankar has been instrumental in taking forward product development in apiceuticals ( medicines from the beehive) and also products combining the power of apiceuticals with herbal ingredients.

Shankar joined Nature’s Laboratory as a knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate, a joint project between the University of Bradford and Nature’s Laboratory, becoming Quality and Research Manager in 2019 and Director of Research and Quality since 2021.

Prior to joining Nature’s Laboratory and BeeVital, Shankar held the position of Assistant Professor at the Institute of Advanced Research, Gandhinagar and prior to this he was Assistant Professor at NIPER, Ahmedabad. He is a natural product chemist with extensive laboratory experience both in industry and academia and has authored numerous papers and articles in his area of expertise.

Professional Accreditations

The Apiceutical Research Centre

In 2010 James established Apiceutical Research Centre to research both the medicinal properties of propolis and sustainable beekeeping.

ARC staged the first UK conferences on Apiceuticals: Medicines of the Future in 2011 and in 2016 the first International Conference  Propolis in Human and Bee Health at the University of Strathclyde.

Global BeePharma Project

Following a discovery which related the chemistry and biological activity of propolis to disease prevalent in particular geographic areas, we undertook a 2 year research project  visiting 5 African countries. We were looking primarily at  why it is that propolis from areas where there was sleeping sickness in the population contained  an anti-trypanosome chemical . We explored areas where Leishmania and Malaria were present.

Global BeePharma is an ongoing project exploring the concept of geographic medicine ie. that the honeybee in collecting propolis to support the colony is at the same collecting the local plants immune response to local challenges.

The International Propolis Research Group

Research into propolis took a significant step forward  when in 2016 James, along with international colleagues from Italy and Bulgaria formed the International Propolis Research Group.

The group’s first conference was held in Sofia in 2018 hosted by the Bulgarian Academy of Chemical Science and Professor Vassya Bankova. Vassya is the world’s leading authority on the chemistry of propolis and has  published over 200 scientific papers, many in collaboration with international research groupings.

IPRG Online Conference 2021

The IPRG held its first online conference in May 2021 Propolis: Medicine for Our Time, with over 400 attendees and nearly 40 scientific papers presented. The conference marked a significant increase in global and pharmaceutical interest in propolis with clinical trials data presented on the use of propolis in treating COVID  19, Metabolic Syndrome and Upper Respiratory Tract disease. Videos of the talks presented can be seen here.

IPRG Online Conference 2022

IPRG’s next online conference in May 2022 will focus on Propolis: A major contribution to sustainable medicine. The conference will deepen an exploration of the sustainability issues that follow a medicine produced directly from a living being. Find out more here.

Global Bee Medicine Group

The Global Bee Medicine Group grew out of a successful international collaboration and conference with the International Federation of Apitherapists. This group is focussing on developing a community of researchers who are engaged in exploring the whole range of potential medicines  and therapies from the beehive  including honey, pollen, bee venom, royal jelly and of course propolis.

Representation on International Standards Committee

James has represented the UK on the ISO (International Standards Organisation) Bee Products Committee which is setting standards for all bee products. He has been particularly active in helping to steer through a workable standard for propolis, a substance which varies widely in chemical content by climatic zone.

Building the BeeArc

30 years researching  both medicines from the beehive and the meaning and role of the honeybee  have led James to develop an ambitious project The BeeArc inspired by the honeybee. This three dimensional project will build a unique Discovery Centre a Research Centre and a model of a sustainable village community. The 7-million-pound project is planned to open in the summer of 2026

Academic Collaborations

James Fearnley, CEO of Beevital, has collaborated with major universities, including Oxford, Manchester, Strathclyde, Leeds Beckett, York, and Bradford, uncovering some ground-breaking findings in relation to the therapeutic properties of propolis.