22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE MKT: XXII), a leader in tobacco harm reduction, announced today an important new initiative in plant biotechnology: 22nd Century has entered into a new cannabis research collaboration with strategic partner Anandia Laboratories, Inc. (Anandia), based in Vancouver, Canada. As a part of this research collaboration, Anandia will develop and grow cannabis strains that express highly desirable characteristics and will lead to exciting commercialization opportunities. Dr. Paul Rushton, 22nd Century’s new Vice President of Plant Biotechnology, will have responsibility for this partnership with Anandia.
“Anandia benefits from an excellent relationship with 22nd Century and we are excited to be expanding our relationship through this research collaboration aimed at creating unique cannabis strains with highly desirable traits that can be commercialized quickly.”
The Company last year announced that Botanical Genetics, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of 22nd Century Group) entered into a worldwide license agreement with Anandia that granted exclusive rights to 22nd Century in the United States to four genes required for cannabinoid production in the cannabis plant. The license also granted 22nd Century co-exclusive rights with Anandia to this proprietary technology in all countries outside of the U.S. and Canada. Anandia retained exclusive rights in Canada.
22nd Century Announces New Cannabis Research Collaboration with Anandia Labs
The proprietary technology licensed from Anandia allows for the development of cannabis strains that demonstrate either an increase or decrease in the production and content of all, or certain subsets of, cannabinoids. The long-term goals of the Company’s research activities relating to cannabis are to develop, protect and commercially produce unique cannabis plant varieties that include high levels of non-THC cannabinoids, such as CBD, for the legal medical marijuana markets, as well as virtually cannabinoid-free cannabis for the commercial hemp industry.
Jonathan Page, Ph.D., Co-Founder, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Anandia – and the inventor of some of 22nd Century’s powerful transcription factor technology in the tobacco plant – is an internationally-recognized pioneer and leader in cannabis science who co-led the team that first sequenced the cannabis genome and has made fundamental discoveries about cannabinoid biosynthesis. Applying Dr. Page’s expertise and Anandia’s patented technology, the Anandia team will use modern plant breeding approaches and genomics to create next-generation cannabis strains.
Dr. Page stated, “Anandia benefits from an excellent relationship with 22nd Century and we are excited to be expanding our relationship through this research collaboration aimed at creating unique cannabis strains with highly desirable traits that can be commercialized quickly.”
Henry Sicignano, III, President and CEO of 22nd Century explained, “In much the same way that we enjoy a monopoly on the nicotinic biosynthetic pathway of tobacco, our license agreement and research activities with Anandia will facilitate 22nd Century’s control of the cannabinoid biosynthetic pathway in cannabis throughout the U.S. market.” Mr. Sicignano continued, “Though not directly related to our main tobacco businesses, the exclusivity in, and control of, ‘next generation cannabis strains’ could ultimately be worth billions of dollars to 22nd Century.”