Renew Biopharma Inc., a preclinical drug discovery company, today announced a licensing agreement with Hypercann Agrogenetics Inc. giving Hypercann rights to use Renew’s proprietary engineered enzymes to modify Cannabis plants for improved profiles of cannabinoids.
Hypercann has licensed the use of Renew’s best-in-class enzymes to create custom Cannabis plant varieties that are hyper-producers of specified cannabinoids.
Renew’s portfolio of engineered enzymes were originally designed to support enhanced production of cannabinoids in microbial systems. While Renew has employed these enzymes to pursue its neurotherapeutic drug discovery program using its proprietary enzymatic chemistry platform, some of Renew’s engineered enzymes can also be employed in the Cannabis plant to enhance and customize cannabinoid production by standard agricultural practices.
Under the terms of the agreement, Renew will provide Hypercann with exclusive access to its proprietary enzymes and underlying genomic mutations for Cannabis plant-editing and agricultural commercialization. Renew will be entitled to undisclosed upfront and milestone payments and is eligible to receive royalties on future product net sales plus license fees tied to Hypercann’s commercial success.
Renew’s IP portfolio includes enzymes derived from the Cannabis plant that have been engineered to be significantly improved for industrial needs. For example, the native Cannabis enzyme, CBDA synthase (CBDAS), that naturally creates CBDA, is relatively inefficient and has off-target activity that creates unwanted THCA contamination. Renew has engineered CBDAS variants that exhibit significantly improved CBDA productivity while eliminating THCA contamination and also variants that produce CBDVA and other rare cannabinoids. These engineered enzymes can be re-introduced to hemp varieties to create cannabinoid hyper-producers without contamination by THCA and can allow the control of the ratio of CBDA to THCA within the plant.
Michael Mendez, CEO and co-founder of Renew, said, “It is incredibly exciting to see Renew’s enzymes impact the traditional cannabis industry and to extend our program’s outreach beyond microbial biosynthesis. Renew’s research team has carefully engineered enzymes for biosynthesis outside the plant, but now we have the chance with Hypercann’s program to also return to the plant and support agricultural growers.”
Stephen Sauter, Executive Board member of Hypercann, added, “Renew has created best-in-class Cannabis enzymes that will accelerate Hypercann’s agricultural platform to usher in a new generation of natural elite varieties of hemp and Cannabis plants. Increasing the amount of CBDA and eliminating the presence of THCA within our hemp strains will revolutionize the Cannabis hemp industry and help push Hypercann to the forefront of new strain development.”
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