Hypercann Agrogenetics announced that its licensed engineered Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) synthases have, for the first time, been transformed into hemp to boost levels of CBDA and THCA in leaves by over 200% and early flowers by over 300%.
Hypercann T0 plant with CBDA synthase
"This achievement in whole plants opens the door for customized cannabinoid profiles using Hypercann's expansive toolbox of licensed transformative enzymes from Renew Biopharma." Hypercann also has the rights to create custom cannabis varieties that are hyper-producers of specific minor cannabinoids like Tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA), Cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) and Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA) using the cannabis plant transformation/editing technology from Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC).
"We believe in the disruptive future of our novel plant platform, which enhances output and modulation as consumer demand for unique cannabinoids continues to increase through global legislation and medical market maturity," says Steven Tan, Chief Technology Officer of Hypercann.
In 2021, Hypercann signed with Renew Biopharma Inc. to access its proprietary enzymes and underlying genomic mutations for cannabis plant-editing and agricultural commercialization.
Hypercann's portfolio of licensed engineered enzymes were originally designed to support the enhanced production of cannabinoids in microbial systems. "For example, the native cannabis enzyme, CBDA synthase (CBDAS), that naturally creates CBDA, is relatively inefficient and has an off-target activity that creates unwanted THCA contamination in a 20 to 1 ratio, as seen in most hemp plants. Renew has engineered CBDAS variants that exhibit significantly improved CBDA productivity and can control the ratio of CBDA to THCA within the plant."
In Vitro data showing enzyme modulation of cannabinoid ratios
Novel CBDASs in Hemp Showing >300% increase in CBDA/THCA in Immature Flower and >200% in small fan leaf, over controls
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 reach beyond microbial biosynthesis and return to the plant, support growers, and help push Hypercann to the forefront of cannabinoid production in plants through new patentable varieties."
With these enzymes in hand, Hypercann established a partnership with the Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center (WCIC) to access its hemp engineering service. The WCIC was founded in 2016 as the largest public plant engineering/editing center in the US and has engineered many plant species, including cannabis.
"The University of Wisconsin-Madison has always been at the forefront of plant engineering and moving technology from the lab into the commercial sectors. The WCIC partnership with Hypercann shows the power of innovation by combining the best of enzyme engineering with our world-class cannabis gene engineering and editing platform," said Mike Petersen, Senior Scientist and Hemp R&D Lead at the WCIC and a SAB member of Hypercann.
Mike Petersen and his team at WCIC were the first in the world to stably engineer a fluorescent marker (RFP) into cannabis in 2018. The technology is patented by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).
"WARF's mission is to enable UW-Madison research to solve problems," said Emily Bauer, WARF's Director of Licensing in the food and agriculture space. "These technologies have great potential to solve a variety of problems in the emerging cannabinoid market, and we're excited to be collaborating with WCIC and Hypercann to make that happen."
With this partnership, plants from all three of Renew's novel CBDA synthases (Hyp1-Hyp3) have been created. To date, over 30 independent events have been produced, and T1 seeds have been harvested. "These will be sent to our partner, Dr. Max Jones, at the University of Guelph in Canada. As a leading university in Agritech with a federally legal THC R&D license and contained breeding chambers for transformed plants, they will help to fast-track trait homozygosity, trait stacking, and validation in proven cannabis cultivars through outcrossing and inbreeding for specific applications."
Hypercann is developing plants expressing significant minor cannabinoids such as CBCA, THCV, CBDV, and CBCVA. This fully utilizes Renew's suite of enzyme technology as minor cannabinoid synthases have been designed and are being validated. Hypercann is positioned to move these back into the plants, with their first focus on CBCA.
Hemp plants growing at the WCIC facility in Wisconsin
Hypercann has also established objectives in the pursuit of terpene customization within the plant. "The demand for terpenes in multiple industries and the science behind the synthases is well documented. The high value of full plant terpenes is clear against botanical terpenes and distillates, as is shown with the increasing success of live resin/whole plant vape cartridges."
"I believe this will open an opportunity through unique cannabis chemotypes and terpene profiles that may not be achievable through traditional breeding, allowing the industry to create and protect the 'Blueberry Coca-Cola' or 'Pineapple Pepsi' of the plant world for the next generation of Sensory Focused Cannabinoid CPG companies."
"As someone who has spent over two decades working with this plant in most contexts, I am excited to see us move from a seed start-up to developing commercial partner relationships who are aligned to be first in the door and investment groups interested in our Series A," says CTO Tan.
For more information:
Steven Tan, CTO