Willow Biosciences Inc (TSE:WLLW) (OTCQX:CANSF) CEO Trevor Peters told shareholders on Wednesday that the biotechnology company has made good progress towards commercialization, and expedited its pilot phase for its portfolio of cannabinoids.
In a statement accompanying the Calgary, Alberta-based company’s second-quarter results, Peters said: "We have continued to make better-than-expected progress towards commercialization over the past few months. Following important scientific breakthroughs, we have expanded our portfolio of cannabinoids from one to five and expedited our pilot phase.”
He added: “We are now less than a year away from commercializing our first cannabinoid and generating revenue, well ahead of our initial expectations. As a first mover, with a highly pure and sustainably produced cannabinoid, we will be in a strong position to capture market share as the industry develops."
The Canadian firm is poised to be the first company to biosynthetically produce a rare cannabinoid compound known as cannabigerol, or CBG, a type 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. As a result of reaching development milestones ahead of schedule, Willow has expedited its 500 litre pilot program to the third quarter from the fourth quarter. The company said it expects to deliver samples of its first cannabinoid, CBG in the third quarter.
Thye company ended the second quarter with “strong liquidity,” including around $12.2 million of cash on hand as of June 30, 2020.
During the quarter, Willow, along with its development partner, Albany Molecular Research Inc, focused on three key development components: increasing cannabinoid product concentrations, optimizing the fermentation process, and developing a cost-effective downstream isolation and purification process.
Through execution of this strategy, Willow said it has now achieved ample performance to initiate the 500-litre pilot-scale campaign to advance its scaling development toward commercial production and generate product samples for “multiple interested companies.”
“Willow will continue to optimize its process at pilot scale with the goal of advancing to larger, commercial-scale fermentation vessels as early as the first half of 2021,” the company said in the earnings statement.
The firm said the success of its yeast production platform has enabled it to develop strains for producing additional high-value cannabinoids. Willow has developed yeast strains and methodologies that allow it to produce significant quantities of cannabigerovarin (CBGV) from a low-cost feedstock at lab scale.
Willow has also allocated resources to the development of commercial processes for cannabidivarin (CBDV) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
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