Colossally Cool Cannabinoids Captivate Creo, Genomatica, Amyris, others

February 14, 2021 |

Last week the focus was on hot hemp and this week it’s cool cannabinoids. From California’s Creo becoming the first company to achieve demo scale production of rare cannabinoid CBGA in partnership with Genomatica, to Amyris’s expansion of consumer brands by launching a new range of Terasana products using cannabinoids, we dive into what is making cannabinoids so captivating for 2021.

In today’s Digest, the latest news from around the world on cannabinoids, how some are making cannabinoids without even using the cannabis plant, a new market report on cannabinoids, and more.

Demo scale production, commercial products, first-to-market products

While there has been tons of hemp news in the past year, California-based Creo just weeks ago became the first company to achieve demo scale production – 12,500-liters – of rare cannabinoid CBGA, without even using the cannabis plant, as reported by The Digest in late January.

Creo partnered with Genomatica to create a patented fermentation technology platform that produces consistent high-quality, rare cannabinoids, sustainably, at scale, and at a higher purity level than traditional methods. Commercial production and supply are expected to begin in Q2 2021 – which will be here before you know it!

“With this demo run, Creo has cemented its leadership position in the emerging market for fermentation-based cannabinoids,” said Creo CEO, Roy Lipski. “This is a very significant milestone for Creo and a major step towards enabling cannabinoid ingredients to reach every household, through wellness, beauty, food and beverage products.”

“We’re excited to be with Creo at the forefront of innovation in this fast-moving industry,” said Nelson Barton, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Genomatica. “We’re glad to have demonstrated, yet again, Genomatica’s expertise in driving fermentation-based processes from idea to commercial readiness, and to showcase our technology delivering another performance product in health and wellness.”

Also in January of this year, the Digest reported that Amyris, Inc. will expand its portfolio of consumer brands by launching a new range of Terasana branded clean beauty products focused on sustainably sourced natural cannabinoids, enabled by its proprietary Lab-to-Market synthetic biology platform, which has a track record of developing and producing platform molecules from naturally sourced sugarcane and a sustainable fermentation production process. Through this platform, Amyris recently commercialized a clean, sustainable, fermentation based CBG (cannabigerol), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid.

Check out The Digest’s 2020 Multi-Slide Guide to Amyris & Cannabinoids here.

In October 2020, the Digest reported on why Hyasynth’s news caught our attention with their announcement that they received a $2.5M milestone payment for its commercialization achievements in being first-to-market with cannabidiol (CBD) produced and extracted from yeast, without the need for cultivation and extraction from cannabis or hemp plants. Their strains of yeast have been specially designed to produce cannabinoids all on their own and there are no special chemicals or precursors that need to be added, just what the yeast needs to grow. These yeasts are designed to grow at immense scales up to hundreds of thousands of litres. Their fermentation process takes less than one week to complete, making it 12 times faster than production by cannabis or hemp plants.

Also in October, Lygos launched Lygos CBx which focuses on non-plant-based cannabinoids. Recent validation projects have demonstrated the company’s ability to produce a variety of cannabinoids and cannabinoid-based products in an environmentally safe, sustainable and cost-effective manner for commercial applications.

Lygos CBx’ bio-based production platform features important quality control measures that ensure pure, consistent and replicable ingredients over time. The technology produces precise, specific and isolated cannabinoids, and avoids issues of separation and purification compared to plant-based production. The modular platform is able to produce a variety of both acidic and decarboxylated forms. In addition to the production of natural molecules, the same modular platform can also create cannabinoid-like derivatives for pharmaceutical applications that target the human endocannabinoid system.

And in September 2020, the Digest reported on BioMediCan’s cannabinoids made with yeasts instead of plants and took a look at their biosynthesis process, how this yeast-to-cannabinoid proprietary technology came about, who’s involved, what this means for the cannabinoid market, and more.

For more on 3 methods to produce rare cannabinoids – Cultivation, Chemical Synthesis and Biosynthesis, check out last week’s Thought Leadership article by Digest guest columnist Maxim Mikheev, CEO and Founder of BIOMEDICAN here.

Where is the cannabinoid market going?

According to a recent report on cannabinoids and the bio revolution by Raymond James, a financial services firm, the global market for cannabinoids produced by fermentation is estimated to grow from $10 billion in 2025 to $115 billion by 2040.

And a new Nova Institute report said the market potential for CBD and other cannabinoids is huge now that cannabis is removed from the United Nations prohibition schedule and CBD is not considered a narcotic drug. The 142-page report “Production of Cannabinoids via Extraction, Chemical Synthesis and Especially Biotechnology – Current Technologies, Potential & Drawbacks and Future Development” provides in-depth information on established and emerging biotechnological approaches on the production of cannabinoids, as well as an overview on the state-of-the-art production methods using plant extraction and chemical synthesis. Additionally, 59 companies active in cannabinoid production are listed, from which 20 specialized in biotechnological production and chemical synthesis are described in detail. More info on the Nova Institute report can be found here.

Check out this slide guide from December that looks at Flavors, Fragrances and Cannabinoids on how others are cracking into the exploding markets in cannabinoids.

Bottom Line

So hemp is hot, but cannabinoids are compelling and are going to be big in 2021 with all these latest milestones in research, commercialization and consumer products. It’s being touted for asthma, for a range of anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits, and more, so we only see this area growing even more as health becomes more of a focus factor for many during these crazy covid times.

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