Supporting the world of medical cannabis: the story of Atlas Biotechnologies

Atlas Biotechnologies is a Canadian Licensed Producer based in Edmonton. Since its inception, the company has been focusing on growing medicinal-grade cannabis with a special attention to consistent high-quality. “We applied for a license in 2015 and received it in 2018,” Jeffrey R. Gossain, COO with Atlas Biotechnologies, says. “We started the construction of a brand-new facility from scratch. In September 2018, we finished the construction and submitted our readiness package to Health Canada. 12 days later we got the cultivation license.” After a short time, Atlas started the cultivation process, eager to bring its high-quality product to patients. “We planted our first seed in December, and now we are starting our 6th harvest,” Jeffrey points out. “We will produce over five thousand kilos per year, on average from our Canadian facility.”

Advancing the research with Harvard Medical School
Now, Atlas Biotechnologies will start collaborating with Harvard Medical School to push forward the research on cannabis’ medical properties. “We have nailed down a research collaboration with Harvard Medical School, and we are also working with two other institutions in Canada and Europe to expand this research collaboration.” Atlas Biotechnologies is indeed one of the founding partners of the International Phytomedicines and Medical Cannabis Institute at Harvard Medical School. “Cannabis has been considered illegal in many countries for a long time, and thus it hasn’t been properly researched. This translates in not much information and knowledge for both growers and the public with regards to specific cultivars that can treat specific conditions,” Jeffrey explains. “Studies will be conducted on the development of phytomedicines for pain and neurological disorders. We will be supplying our product to Harvard Medical School for research purposes. We are working on a license to export and import to the US on a legal federal level.” Cannabis is still federally illegal in the US, and therefore Atlas Biotechnologies’ achievement is truly remarkable, as Jeffrey highlights. “This will allow not only allow Harvard Medical School to continue the research on such an important matter, but it will also allow other higher education or research institutions to get cannabis flowers from another entity rather than one only – as it has been thus far.”

Jim Hole, VP of Cultivation draws in attention during a recent facility tour 

Consistent quality only indoor
Since Atlas Biotechnologies wants to achieve the highest quality on a consistent basis, Jeffrey explains that they built a fully indoor facility as “we believe that that kind of high quality and that level of consistency is simply not achievable with a greenhouse, for instance.” In addition to that, Atlas Biotechnologies has an “EU-GMP designed lab where we can do extraction, processing, and even isolate specific cannabinoids. On top of that, we also have an analytics lab on site, which we use for R&D,” Jeffrey says.

The impressive facility by Atlas has been meticulously designed in order to accommodate the innovative cultivation methods the company has been carrying out. “Research will help a lot with breeding as we can increase the concentration of specific cannabinoids for specific conditions. In this way, we can be sure to have the right combination of chemicals within the plants.”

Constructing such a high-tech facility surely is not an easy endeavor. Many factors need to be taken into consideration, climate and environmental control above all. “With regards to our EU-GMP lab, one of the challenges was the selection of the equipment,” Jeffrey says. “The equipment is very large and expensive, and you have to be very careful when selecting it.” According to him, it is crucial to build the facility around the equipment, and not the other way around. “We were able to do the equipment selection and design the building around it. We built it by EU-GMP standards, and we expect to have the first EU-GMP product by the end of the year, and that will eventually be exported to Germany.”

Jeffrey further explains that, given Atlas’ medical focus, European countries are keener to choose them as a supplier, compared to other companies that have multiple focuses. “Pharmaceutical distributors in Germany are interested in our product exactly because of our medical focus.” 

9 different microclimates
Climate and environmental control are two of the most important aspects in a cannabis facility. “This is also the reason why we opted for an indoor operation. Consistent high quality can be achieved only through meticulous climate control, which can be unnecessarily challenging in large greenhouses. The risk associated with the latter is that one could not be properly controlling the environment, with inevitable consequences for the end product.”

In order to have the environment constantly under control, Jeffrey explains that Atlas have ‘small’ grow rooms, but most importantly, each of them has its own microclimate. “We have 9 microclimates within the facility, and they are fully isolated. We can play with the climate in the different rooms and play with it for each cultivar. In addition, we got the lab on site to test,” he says. “The environment is one of the most important things. That is why we did 9 microclimates. It is difficult to keep the climate equal throughout a very large room. That is why we opted for smaller rooms with different microclimates; in this way we can achieve the best quality, but mostly, in a consistent manner.”

Great plans for Atlas ahead, as Jeffrey points out that the company is looking to expand its reach to Europe. “We are looking at expanding our cultivation capacity in Europe. There are many interesting countries there, such as Denmark, where regulations are less restrictive in terms of allowing THC, and the possibility for exporting.”

For more information:
Atlas Biotechnologies
2170 - 10123 99 St NW 
Edmonton, AB T5J 3H1
1-855-510-GROW (4769)
info@atlasgrowers.com  
atlasgrowers.com  


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