A joint venture between a major cannabis firm and a biology manufacturing company could open the door to an entirely new approach to producing medical marijuana. In particular, the project aims to isolate certain cannabinoids and then use fermentation to reproduce the chemicals without having to grow an actual plant. This process has the potential to radically disrupt conventional methods for growing cannabis and producing medicinal cannabis products.
Cronos Group and Ginkgo Team Up
Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks and Toronto-based Cronos Group Inc. recently announced a new partnership. The goal of the partnership is to come up with a new technology for producing rare cannabinoids without having to grow cannabis plants.
More specifically, the partnership will tap into the strengths of each company. For example, Ginkgo has developed an innovative platform for isolating and coding specific DNA sequences. They then take these sequences and transfer them into yeast.
As the yeast ferments, the DNA is replicated. In the end, this process has allowed Ginkgo to produce a range of chemicals affordably and in large quantities.
So far, this technology has been used to make a wide variety of products. This includes pharmaceuticals, flavors, fragrances, and now possibly cannabinoids too.
On the other hand, Cronos Group is one of the largest cannabis companies in the world. The company has a wide portfolio of cannabis products and is involved in multiple cannabis-related activities.
It is especially involved in the medical marijuana space. Currently, the company has a market cap above $1 billion.
Cronos regularly looks to leverage new partnerships in order to move into additional sectors within the cannabis industry. And that’s exactly what they’re doing with this latest deal.
A Radical New Approach to Medical Marijuana
Under the new partnership, the companies will work together to change the process for producing medical marijuana. Specifically, the partnership will bring together Cronos’ expertise in the world of medical marijuana with Ginkgo’s biological technologies.
According to the companies’ press release, they plan to isolate a broad range of cannabinoids. This includes CBD and THC, along with numerous other cannabinoids, especially rare ones that are hard to extract in large quantities.
Once Ginkgo isolates the DNA for each cannabinoid, the company will use its specialized technology to produce the cannabinoids in fermenting yeast.
Ultimately, they hope to harvest large amounts of medical-grade cannabinoids. In particular, the companies hope this process will make it possible to produce rare and hard to extract cannabinoids.
“The potential uses of cannabinoids ayere vast,” Cronos Group CEO Mike Gorenstein said in the press release. “But the key to successfully bringing cannabinoid-based products to market is creating reliable, consistent, and scalable production of a full spectrum of cannabinoids, not just THC and CBD.”
From Cronos’ perspective, the partnership comes at a potentially good time. Canada, where Cronos Group is based, is about to legalize marijuana at the national level. The country plans to make cannabis legal in October.
Experts expect Canada’s legal cannabis market to be a huge new industry. This, in turn, could spur new innovations in cannabis cultivation, production, and the types of products designed for the retail market.