22nd Century Group, has entered into a worldwide strategic research and development agreement with KeyGene, a global leader in plant research involving high-value genetic traits and increased crop yields. "This exclusive, worldwide collaboration will focus on developing hemp/cannabis plants with exceptional cannabinoid profiles for medical and therapeutic use among other applications", the team with the company explains.
The company continues: "Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in hemp and in cannabis that have been linked to a number of potential medical benefits. The mix, concentration, and characteristics of these cannabinoids vary widely and can be optimized through molecular breeding and other modern crop improvement technologies that have been utilized extensively in other crops, but which have been utilized rarely in hemp and cannabis varieties."
"The 22nd Century-KeyGene collaboration provides 22nd Century access to a unique suite of crop innovation platforms, including genomics, molecular genetics, trait discovery and breeding technologies. Under the agreement, 22nd Century will hold exclusive worldwide rights to all hemp/cannabis plant lines, intellectual property on metabolic traits, and research results that are developed through this strategic partnership." According to the company, the focus of the collaboration will include:
(i) Creating a genetic database which utilizes the results of genomic analyses of several hundred existing, exceptional hemp/cannabis plant lines for use in the acceleration of the Company’s development and licensing of uniquely characterized and improved hemp/cannabis plants;
(ii) Enhancing genetic variation to empower 22nd Century’s development of new and significantly improved varieties of hemp/cannabis plant lines and varieties with highly desirable cannabinoid profiles optimized for medicinal or therapeutic applications;
(iii) Creating a proprietary and industry-leading high-resolution “molecular genetic map” of the entire cannabis plant genome to facilitate rapid, cost-effective breeding of innovative varieties of hemp/cannabis plants with distinctive agronomic traits;
(iv) Analyzing the genomic sequences of multiple species of the hemp/cannabis plant and identifying shared genetic markers, allowing 22nd Century to develop improved commercial hemp/cannabis plant lines more rapidly than through conventional plant breeding approaches; and
(v) Initiating the rapid-cycle generation of hemp/cannabis plant lines with distinctive cannabinoid and terpene profiles to create elite lines.
“22nd Century’s exclusive global collaboration with KeyGene is expected to yield novel medicinal cannabinoid profiles and other highly desirable agronomic traits,” explains Henry Sicignano III, President and Chief Executive Officer of 22nd Century Group.
Work on the program will occur in multiple locations in the United States and the Netherlands.