ICC International Cannabis Corp. (CSE: WRLD.U)(FWB: 8K51)(OTC: WLDCF) ("ICC" or “International Cannabis” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the completion of a USD $1.2 million strategic investment into Biotii Technologies Corp. (“Biotii”), a leading private biotechnology company, based out of Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Biotii is actively pursuing genetically engineered microorganisms that express cannabinoid profiles identical to those found in nature, at a fraction of the cost of current cannabis production methods and with more consistent production quality. Biotii is also endeavoring to replicate similar target drug molecules that cannot be easily manufactured utilizing chemical processes alone.
Eugene Beukman, Chief Executive Officer and a Director of International Cannabis, stated: “ICC continues its pursuit of identifying and investing in leading cannabis technology companies. We are thoroughly impressed with the Biotii team, which consists of proven innovators from world-class institutions, whom we believe are en route to potentially disrupt a very large part of the cannabis value chain. The potential of Biotii’s technology and will leverage the know-how and expertise of Biotii’s world-class team to bring economies of scale using biosynthesis to the cannabis industry. This investment enhances ICC’s ability to capture significant IP and market share in the fast-developing biosynthesis market for cannabinoids."
Due to recent technological advances with respect to gene editing, in-silico protein modeling and semi-automated high throughput robotics, Biotii has the foundation to expedite its molecular biology research, allowing the company to spearhead into large-scale production with a wide portfolio of intellectual property (“IP”). Biotii’s evolving IP portfolio will consist of:
- Synthetic cannabinoids;
- Designer enzymes;
- Proprietary enzyme pathway and,
- GMO microorganisms.
Biotii’s scalable synthesizing process will enable the manufacture of lesser-known cannabis compounds, as well as tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and cannabidiol (“CBD”) at materially lower costs when compared to conventional cultivation and extraction processes. Traditional cultivation of cannabis plants for the purpose of extracting cannabidiolic acid (“CBDA”), THC and CBD is a time, labor and resource intensive endeavor that can result in depressed extraction yields of approximately 2.5%.
An alternative tool for the production of cannabinoids is biosynthetic engineering, where single cell organisms are programmed to synthesize the enzymes for the metabolic pathway that generates cannabinoids from sugars. Biotii intends to leverage a unique system to mass manufacture large quantities of cannabinoids with a smaller environment footprint than other known methods.
By 2020, the Biotii team intends to establish processes to mass-produce CBD/THC in quantities of hundreds of metric tons per annum, which boast:
- Stable and consistent yields,
- Pharmaceutical grade purities; and,
- The lowest production costs in the space.
Biotii is equipped with the human capital and industry expertise necessary to effectively implement food and pharmaceutical grade GMP practices while scaling emerging cannabinoid biosynthesis to thousands of liters in a semi/continuous environment.
Dr. John Harrold, Biotii’s Chief Executive Officer, and Sisi Ni, Chief Product Officer, commented: “Biotii looks forward to progressing our technology alongside ICC and their robust cannabis platform. ICC has earned a reputation of being a thought leader in the space and we are excited by the possibilities of tapping into ICC’s unique expertise and resources as we look to disrupt the cannabis industry.”
Dr. Harrold is an MIT instructor with expertise in end-to-end bio-lab management, and a proven entrepreneur having previously championed four start-ups, including two funded by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Ni is an MIT trained materials scientist and engineer who was previously named as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30.
Biotii has forged mission critical relationships with leading medical research institutions in both the United States and China. In addition to Dr. Harrold and Dr. Ni, the Biotii team is also led by:
- Casey Solomon, PhD - Chief Science Officer / Lead Scientist: A University of Minnesota graduate and a visiting Assistant Professor of St. Olaf College with extensive expertise in biochemistry and molecular biology. Dr. Solomon is a resident expert in yeast engineering, E. coli engineering, and molecular pathway engineering.
- Ryan Hubbard, MD - Chief Medical Officer: A former instructor at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine with 25+ publications, posters, and oral presentations. Dr. Hubbard graduated with an M.D. from Georgetown University Medical School and a B.A. from Davidson before joining a fellowship at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine.
- Nona Tian, PhD - Science Advisor / Affiliated Researcher: A Xiamen University PhD graduate in Cell and Molecular Biology with a B.S. in biotechnology. She is a successful startup co-founder with extensive bioengineering experience.
- Peter Liu - Technology Advisor / Affiliated Researcher: A Xiamen University graduate with a B.S. in biotechnology. Mr. Liu is a seasoned protein engineer and startup co-founder that received various grants from the Chinese Government for bioengineering initiatives.
This strategic investment grants International Cannabis a right of first refusal (“ROFR”) with respect to all future Biotii financings.