Vancouver, British Columbia – Sept 21, 2020 – Willow Biosciences Inc. (“Willow” or the “Company“) (TSX: WLLW; OTCQX: CANSF) is pleased to announce that it has successfully developed a scalable process for producing cannabigerol (“CBG“) with greater than 99% purity and no detectable THC and demonstrated production at 500 litre scale.
The Company previously announced that, in collaboration with its development partner, Albany Molecular Research, Inc., it had commenced a 500 litre pilot scale campaign. The Company now reports that the pilot campaign was a success and in addition to optimizing the production process using its proprietary yeast strain, the Company has developed a high-yielding downstream purification process that provides CBG with greater than 99% purity. This highly productive strain and simplified downstream process should enable manufacturing in smaller, capital-light, GMP-compliant fermentation production facilities, at a fraction of the cost and environmental footprint of plant cultivation and extraction.
“Achieving scalable production of pure CBG is a pivotal milestone for both Willow and our industry” said Trevor Peters, Willow’s Chief Executive Officer. “The market opportunity for high-purity cannabinoids manufactured under GMP control is expected to be in the billions of dollars in the coming years, and as the first company to successfully produce product samples, Willow is poised to capture a sizable portion of that market. We anticipate being able to begin commercialization of CBG in the first half of 2021 and are currently selecting manufacturing partners to assist us in reaching both local and worldwide markets.”
Willow expects to deliver samples of its produced CBG to prospective partners in the coming weeks and has seen initial demand for samples from Canada, United States, Brazil, Europe, Australia and South East Asia. Demand is evident from all segments of the consumers packaged goods industry including nutraceuticals, food and beverage, personal care and over-the-counter medicine. Providing Willow’s prospective partners with high purity samples from its pilot production run is the most significant hurdle before entering into commercial agreements.
CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with early research suggesting it has a range of bioactive properties in the body that include anti-microbial and antioxidant functions. From early discussions with key stakeholders in the nutraceutical, personal care, food and beverage industries, the Company believes that CBG has the potential to be as impactful to the recreational, health and wellness landscape as cannabidiol (“CBD“) has become, and this will pave the way for other cannabinoids to enter the marketplace based upon the distinct differences in how they function in the body as well as their applicability to product formulation.
An updated corporate presentation is available on the Company’s website at www.willowbio.com.
About Willow Biosciences Inc.
Willow is a Canadian biotechnology company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that produces high purity, plant-derived compounds that provide building blocks for the global pharmaceutical, health and wellness, and consumer packaged goods industries. Willow’s current focus is in the production of cannabinoids for the treatment for pain, anxiety, obesity, brain disorders, among other significant indications. Willow’s science team has a proven track record of developing manufacturing technologies for high purity compounds in pain and cancer treatments. Willow’s manufacturing process creates a consistent, scalable and sustainable product that allows for the discovery and development of new life changing drugs.
For further information, please visit our website at www.willowbio.com or contact:
President and Chief Executive Officer
T: (403) 669-4848
Troy Talkkari, CFA
Vice President, Corporate Development
T: (403) 618-1117
150, 2250 Boundary Road, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5M 3Z3
This news release may include forward-looking statements including opinions, assumptions, estimates and the Company’s assessment of future plans and operations, and, more particularly, statements concerning: the effect of Willow’s production platform on fermentation production facilities, including cost savings and environmental effects resulting therefrom; Willow’s revised milestone projections, including the timing of commercialization scale-up; the expected therapeutic benefits of CBG; discussions with consumer-packaged goods entities, manufacturing partners and other key stakeholders, including the expected delivery of product samples to prospective partners in the coming weeks; the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the Company; the market size potential of the synthetic cannabinoid industry, including the market opportunity for high purity cannabinoids manufactured under GMP control, and Willow’s ability to capture market share; timing of revenue generation; Willow’s entry into new global markets; and the business plan of the Company, generally, including cannabinoid research and production. When used in this news release, the words “will,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intent,” “may,” “project,” “should,” and similar expressions are intended to be among the statements that identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are founded on the basis of expectations and assumptions made by the Company which include, but are not limited to: the ability of the Company to replicate its 500 litre scale results when producing commercial levels of CBG; the success of Willow’s strategic partnerships, including the development of future strategic partnerships; the financial strength of the Company; the ability of the Company to fund its business plan using cash on hand and existing resources; the market for Willow’s products; the ability of the Company to obtain and retain applicable licences; the ability of the Company to obtain suitable manufacturing partners and other strategic relationships; and the successful implementation of Willow’s production strategy, generally. Forward-looking statements are subject to a wide range of risks and uncertainties, and although the Company believes that the expectations represented by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will be realized. Any number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, risks associated with: the cannabinoid industry in general; the success of the Company’s research and development strategies; infringement on intellectual property; failure to benefit from partnerships or successfully integrate acquisitions; actions and initiatives of federal and provincial governments and changes to government policies and the execution and impact of these actions, initiatives and policies; import/export and research restrictions for cannabinoid-based operations; the size of the medical-use and adult-use cannabinoid market; competition from other industry participants; adverse U.S., Canadian and global economic conditions; adverse global events and public-health crises, including the current COVID-19 outbreak; failure to comply with certain regulations; departure of key management personnel or inability to attract and retain talent; and other factors more fully described from time to time in the reports and filings made by the Company with securities regulatory authorities. Please refer to the AIF and the MD&A for additional risk factors relating to Willow, which can be accessed either on Willow’s website at www.willowbio.com or under the Company’s profile on www.sedar.com.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law. The forward-looking statements contained herein are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.