Willow Biosciences Inc (TSE:WLLW) (OTCQX:CANSF) (FRA:3D7) told investors it is to receive Canadian government funding to help it advance its rare cannabinoids towards commercialization.
In a statement, Vancouver-based Willow said it will receive advisory services and conditional funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) supporting a research project to advance the production of its varin cannabinoids, using the firm's biosynthetic platform.
READ: Willow Biosciences CEO says firm makes better-than-expected progress towards commercialization as it posts 2Q results
The firm produces high-purity biosynthetic cannabinoids and is developing the so-called varins series of cannabinoids.
These are considered minor or rare but are of potential therapeutic interest for conditions, including autism and diabetes.
They occur naturally in cannabis plants at less than 1% of biomass, making them challenging and costly to produce via cultivation.
"By using the platform technology that has allowed us to advance our CBG program ahead of schedule, we are able to expand our portfolio and pursue fermentation-based production of additional cannabinoids," said Trevor Peters, Willow's chief executive.
"We have made strong progress with our varins development to date and expect the varins program to reach scale-up phase in the first half of 2021 and market-ready levels in the second half of 2021."
The firm has come up with a yeast fermentation production platform, which was initially developed for cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabidiol (CBD), which has shown impressive success, it said.
Willow expects to be the first company to biosynthetically produce material amounts of cannabinoids.
By varying the feedstock used in its fermentation platform, it has also made significant progress on developing strains for its varin series of cannabinoids and will use the NRC IRAP funding to accelerate the commercialization plan for these cannabinoids, it said.
Willow produces high purity, plant-derived compounds for the global pharmaceutical, health and wellness, and consumer packaged goods industries.
The current focus is the production of cannabinoids to treat pain, anxiety, obesity, and brain disorders, among others.
Shares gained 8.8% in Toronto to stand at C$0.74 each.
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