ICC International Cannabis, alongside Biotii Technologies Corp. has entered into a design and automation agreement with Y Combinator backed Opentrons Labworks. The companies will collaborate to architect and construct Canada’s first privately owned high-throughput Bioworks Foundry.
According to them, the Bioworks Foundry will function as a staging ground for Biotii’s cannabinoid researchers and organism designers to manufacture and analyze prototype enzyme pathways. The state-of-the-art facility will afford International Cannabis and Biotii the ability to scale its synthesized cannabinoid testing processes in a rapid and cost effective fashion, by leveraging:
- Advanced DNA assembly protocols;
- Laboratory automation; and,
- High performance analytics
"Opentrons’ state-of-the-art OT-2 Robot will provide Biotii with unbridled access to a proven molecular biology platform, furnished with hundreds of existing protocols and over 5,400 software commits from a diverse community of researchers; including leading teams from Stanford University and the Mayo Clinic," the team with the company says.
"Bolstered by the continued financial backing of ICC, coupled with the integration Opentrons’ advanced operational/engineering frameworks into the planned Bioworks Foundry, the Biotii team remains steadfast to its 2020 mandate cannabinoid production in quantities of hundreds of metric tonnes per annum, boasting:
- Stable and consistent yields;
- Pharmaceutical-grade purities; and,
- Lowest production costs in the space"
On April 4, 2019, International Cannabis announced a strategic investment into Biotii, a leading private biotechnology company based in Boston, Massachusetts. Biotii’s scalable synthesizing processes will enable the manufacture of a wide range of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol at significantly lower costs comparative to conventional cultivation and extraction processes.
"Opentrons platform affords Biotii access to the initial technology and laboratory infrastructure necessary for the architecture of its automated, high-throughput Bioworks Foundry," they explain. "It is anticipated that the Bioworks Foundry will accelerate the Companies’ cannabinoid research and development capabilities, thereby capturing significant IP within the fast-developing biosynthesis market for cannabinoids."
"The OT-2 will also enable Biotii to customize laboratory automation for maximum leverage of our engineering talent. The extensive library of standard protocols developed for the OT-2 provides a foundation upon which we can build a comprehensive automated pipeline from plasmid prep, to transfection, fermentation, and to target molecule samples."
David Shpilt, Chief Executive Officer of International Cannabis states: “Within the sphere of biological engineering living organisms are the foundational factories by which revolutionary products are devised. Designing preeminent synthetic cannabinoids requires a different category of factory, one where best-in-class tools in automation, analytics, and software can all function in symbiotic fashion. The Companies’ automated Bioworks Foundry will permit efficient scaling of organism design, thereby allowing engineers to expedite the prototyping of thousands of unique biological designs.
"Opentrons presents a flexible platform and supports a growing community of users, providing ICC and Biotti with access to continuously expanding set of modules, protocol, and capabilities. Automation tools comparable to the Opentrons OT-2 Robot enable the execution of complex, repetitive task-loads that cannot be replicated by traditional human laboratory staff. The OT-2, for example, can run four times as many experiments in the same sized plate, and efficiently dispense liquids with precision in much less time.”
Dr. John Harrold, Biotii’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder states: “With Opentrons, we are ready to start building our revolutionary Bioworks Foundry. We have the flexibility to develop whatever automated processes we want, even, and especially, if the manufacturer hasn’t thought of it yet. This will give Biotii and ICC the advantage in developing not only our target products faster, but also the tools to produce subsequent targets more efficiently.”
According to the company, the OT-2 Robot system provides Biotii the flexibility to build additional protocols, which can be subsequently adapted for novel applications, beyond even the “factory-installed” broad set, including:
- PCR sample prep;
- Nucleic acid purification;
- NGS library prep;
- Automated pipetting;
- DNA normalization and quantification;
- Nucleic acid purification;
- Automated well filing;
- Plate mapping;
- Downstream mass spectrometry analysis; and
- SDS reducing gels
"We recognize that the OT-2 makes the automation of individual tasks available at economics that would be prohibitive with alternatives. Biotii can leverage precision of the OT-2 to complete tasks that would have been performed manually. This is especially critical for standardizing analysis of cannabinoid products during the experimental phase."
Will Canine, Co-Founder and CPO of Opentrons: “I am happy to start our relationship with Biotii and ICC. At Opentrons, we strive to empower innovation by companies like Biotii and ICC. I am excited to see what new uses Biotii’s engineers will come up with to get the most out of the OT-2.”