Canadian Manufacturing

Organigram invests in firm that can produce cannabis’ active ingredients in lab

The Montreal-based biotech's game-changing technology can be used to produce phytocannabinoids using genetically engineered strains of yeast


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PHOTO: Cannabis seeds/Esteban Lopez via Flickr

MONCTON, N.B. – The parent company of marijuana producer Organigram Inc. has closed a $10-million investment deal with Hyasynth Biologicals, boosting its access to biotechnology that can produce cannabis’ active chemical ingredients in a lab without needing a costly grow-op.

Organigram says Hyasynth’s proprietary technology can produce active ingredients that occur naturally in the cannabis plant, called phytocannabinoids, using genetically engineered strains of yeast in a technique known as biofermentation.

The Montreal-based biotech’s enzymes and yeast strains have enabled them to produce cannabinoids such as cannabidiol, known as CBD, which can be used for cannabis-based products such as beverages or pharmaceutical products.

The CEO of Moncton-based Organigram Greg Engel said the technology is a game-changer, and can be used to produce phytocannabinoids at a large scale for a fraction of the cost of traditional marijuana production.

Organigram’s has already purchased $5 million in convertible secured debentures of Hyasynth, and will purchase an additional $5 million in two other tranches, pending the company meeting certain milestones and funding conditions.

The closing of the Hyasynth deal comes just days after marijuana producer Cronos Group Inc. announced a partnership with Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks Inc., focusing on producing cannabinoids using biological manufacturing via fermentation in a deal worth roughly US$122 million.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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