Featured

As Cannabis Market Heats Up, Scientists Race to Build ‘Weed Biofactories’

Scientists are hustling on behalf of the weed industry to find new ways to produce the most valuable compounds in marijuana, ditching greenhouses in favor of big steel vats of yeast that can ‘brew’ cannabis like Budweiser brews beer.

The science, once brought to market, would be a goldmine for those who perfect it, giving two separate industries — pharma and legal weed — stable, potent and cheap sources of the ingredients they need.

Right now, the industry’s two most in-demand ingredients are THC, the compound in marijuana that gets you high, and CBD, another cannabis compound used for its medicinal effect. Today, we get those compounds by growing weed plants in large greenhouses, then extracting and isolating the active ingredients. It’s a big, dirty and expensive process.

A recent boom in the cannabis industry, however, has driven a need to find cheaper and faster way of getting THC and CBD. Legal weed in particular has increased demand for products that will appeal to non-smokers. Instead of the traditional lump of dried green “flower,” pot dispensaries are selling everything from oils, foods and drinks infused with THC and CBD. The food and drink items (called “edibles”) have seen significant growth in recent years, now making up 40 percent of dispensaries’ marijuana sales, according to some estimates. They can’t grow cannabis fast enough, which is why scientists are trying to produce it in labs.

And biotech companies are trying to deliver.

Instead of growing actual plants, these researchers have found a way to get yeast to do the dirty work. In the simplest terms, scientists insert the genes of a cannabis plant into the DNA of yeast. These mutant strains of yeast then manufacture cannabinoids like THC and CBD, only asking for copious amounts of sugar in return. This type of bioreactor isn’t a new idea; yeast and other organisms have long been used to create and isolate drugs and substances. But using yeast to produce specific cannabinoids is a new branch of the science, and those in the field are still sorting out how to manufacture the stuff at an industrial scale. Whoever figures it out first will have a valuable commodity on their hands.

San Diego has two startups working in this space: Librede, an early entrant that got started back in 2013 (and has two issued patents to its name, and one pending), and CB Therapeutics, a rising star in the startup world for landing among finalists in a recent TechCrunch pitch competition (patents pending).

The two companies have been fighting naysayers from the start, they say, struggling to get investors to understand the value of cannabinoid biofactory.

“I was pitching this idea in San Diego a few years ago, and it’s funny how things change,” said 31-year-old Sher Ali Butt, co-founder and CEO at CB Therapeutics. “Before legalization in California, nobody wanted to even take my phone call. I would go places and people would laugh me out of the room.”

Librede’s founder Jason Poulos, 35, said fundraising was exhausting for this very reason.

“Everyone just laughs and makes a stoner joke about the yeast getting high or something,” he said.

But the laughs have died down. The idea of yeast making cannabinoids is now out of the bag, and biotech companies across the nation are racing to patent yeast strains and the manufacturing methods of their weed biofactories. Whoever figures it out first could snag the biggest slice of the $10 billion cannabis industry’s pie.

Librede and CB Therapeutics are joined by several other companies in the space, including the latest entrant: Intrexon, a Maryland-based company with a $2.4 billion market cap. The synthetic biology company just announced in late September that it had engineered a yeast strain for cannabinoid production, boosting the company’s stock 27 percent overnight. Intrexon declined to share details about its research, but noted they’d been working on it for quite some time.

This year has been pivotal for the cannabis industry in two ways. First, the FDA approved the first CBD drug in history this year with GW Pharmaceuticals’ seizure drug Epidiolex. The approval will likely spur follow-on research by other drugmakers, including those studying the more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis other than CBD that could have therapeutic effects.

But the recreational weed market has also boomed. In the last two years, five additional states have legalized recreational use: Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, California and Vermont. They join legal weed early adopters: Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon.

(SOURCE: TNS)

(Article written by Brittany Meiling)



Source link

health news headlines provided courtesy of Medical News Today.

Advertisement

Advertisement Small

Flickr

  • about raw courage
  • catastropic at war
  • nervy
  • Paranoids
  • prolog
  • Just before rain
  • 86 Fahrenheit
  • Vivian
  • badinage

About Author

Follow Me

Collaboratively harness market-driven processes whereas resource-leveling internal or "organic" sources. Competently formulate.

ThemeForest

Collaboratively harness market-driven processes whereas resource-leveling internal or "organic" sources. Competently formulate.

  • Johannes - Multi-concept Personal Blog & Magazine WordPress theme
  • Opinion - Modern News & Magazine Style WordPress Theme
  • Trawell - WordPress travel theme
  • Pinhole - WordPress Gallery Theme for Photographers
  • Typology - Text Based Minimal WordPress Blog Theme
  • Gridlove - Creative Grid Style News & Magazine WordPress Theme
  • Vlog - Video Blog / Magazine WordPress Theme
  • Herald - News Portal & Magazine WordPress Theme
  • Sidewalk - Elegant Personal Blog WordPress Theme

View more

View More Job Search Results

Calendar

June 2019
M T W T F S S
« May    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Pages

Recent Comments

    RSS Meks Blog

    • Using Google Trends for market research to leverage your content creation ideas June 12, 2019
      Did you know you can use Google Trends for market research and target your customer needs, tailor content strategy, in a much better way? The post Using Google Trends for market research to leverage your content creation ideas appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • How WordPress can help you to build and increase brand awareness June 6, 2019
      How can you build and improve brand awareness with WordPress and what steps are needed in that strategy? The post How WordPress can help you to build and increase brand awareness appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • Starting a photography blog: The secrets successful photo bloggers won’t tell you May 30, 2019
      Is starting a photography blog the next step for your personal branding and getting out there with your work? Sure is! And here’s how you can do it! The post Starting a photography blog: The secrets successful photo bloggers won’t tell you appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • 5+ best forum plugins for WordPress to build a loyal community in 2019 May 22, 2019
      Looking for the best forum plugin for WordPress to build a community and keep them engaged? Let us save you the time and choose among these 6 we recommend. The post 5+ best forum plugins for WordPress to build a loyal community in 2019 appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • Easily setup Facebook instant articles for your WordPress website (plus tips & tricks ) May 16, 2019
      In case you still haven’t set up Facebook Instant Articles for your WordPress blog or site, here’s why we recommend you to do it. The post Easily setup Facebook instant articles for your WordPress website (plus tips & tricks ) appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • 8 things people usually miss before starting a blog May 8, 2019
      Have you ever wondered what things need to be done before starting a blog or do you think it’s just writing and not much else? Boy, are you in for a surprise! The post 8 things people usually miss before starting a blog appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • WordPress RSS feed plugin – 7 recommendations 2019 edition May 1, 2019
      Wondering whether you need a WordPress RSS feed plugin or not? Let us show you what beautiful things you can make with it! The one thing people nowadays tend to say is that emails and RSS feeds are dead. A fact that couldn’t be more from the actual truth. Knowing that we live in a […]
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • How to make money as a travel blogger (10 tips you can start using today) April 23, 2019
      Have you ever wondered how to make money as a travel blogger, especially when you see how many are out there doing it? Here are at least ten ways you can, too! The post How to make money as a travel blogger (10 tips you can start using today) appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • 6+ video marketing tips to improve your vlogging [2019 edition] April 17, 2019
      Wondering what would be some of the best video marketing tips that can help you step up your vlogging game? We’ve got you covered! The post 6+ video marketing tips to improve your vlogging [2019 edition] appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic
    • 18 top Google Chrome extensions for WordPress April 10, 2019
      Looking for the most useful WordPress Chrome extensions to make your site more functional and engaging? Take a look at our list of top Chrome addons to use! The post 18 top Google Chrome extensions for WordPress appeared first on Meks.
      Ivana Cirkovic

    Text

    Distinctively utilize long-term high-impact total linkage whereas high-payoff experiences. Appropriately communicate 24/365.

    Archives