Willow Biosciences Inc (TSE:WLLW) (OTCQX:CANSF) is getting ready to become the first company to biosynthetically produce non-psychoactive cannabinoids as it begins a pilot production run of cannabigerol, or CBG.
The biotechnology company commenced a 500-litre production run to deliver samples of CBG in the third quarter of 2020.
Vancouver-based Willow will manufacture the high purity, plant-derived compounds for pharmaceutical, health and wellness and consumer packaged goods industries.
CBG is a form of cannabinoid with non-psychoactive properties that initial research suggests could have anti-microbial and antioxidant functions. Willow has developed a proprietary process to manufacture the compound in commercial quantities – much more than anything that can be produced naturally in the plant.
Willow’s CEO Trevor Peters told shareholders that the pilot production run is a “significant milestone” for the firm after 16 months of research from its science team.
"We will be the first company to biosynthetically produce material amounts of cannabinoids when our samples of CBG are ready in 3Q of this year,” Peters said in a statement.
“This pilot is ahead of schedule in part due to our industry-leading science team, but also due to strong demand from major global consumer packaged goods entities. In our discussions with companies manufacturing consumer products with cannabinoids as ingredients, it is clear that there is significant demand for ultra-pure, pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids."
The pilot will run in collaboration with Willow’s development partner Albany Molecular Research Inc (AMRI). Earlier this week the seed train for inoculating the pilot fermenter began at AMRI’s facility with Willow’s proprietary yeast strain. The production process will take around one week, according to the firm.
Willow’s yeast production process will allow it to produce CBG in commercial quantities. It is aiming to commercialize CBG in the first half of 2021.
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