Starts off year with significant commercial momentum toward focus on delivering robust year-over-year revenue growth for 2023
Previous steps taken to further optimize Willow’s business, focus on near-term revenue generation and reduce cash burn are paying off
Mountain View, California – May 11, 2023 – Willow Biosciences Inc.(“Willow” or the “Company“) (TSX: WLLW; OTCQB: CANSF), a leading biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing industrial manufacturing of pure, consistent and sustainable functionable ingredients, has released its financial and operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2023, reporting significant progress to its operational platform and strong liquidity.
“The first quarter of this year marked significant progress against our stated goals to foster diversified commercial growth within our portfolio, and create opportunities for near-term revenue generation for the business all while experiencing reduced cash burn”, said Chris Savile, Willow’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are on a solid trajectory in successfully executing on projects underway while pursuing new agreements, and our legacy yeast strain engineering capabilities along with the complementary BioOxi™ bio-oxidation platform technology we recently launched further opens up the playing field where we can leverage our technology in pursuit of growth.”
Willow’s unaudited consolidated interim financial statements and related management’s discussion and analysis for the quarter ended March 31, 2023 are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Highlights for the Quarter
- On January 17, 2023, Willow announced a follow-on engagement with Sandhill One, LLC (“Sandhill”) for the next phase in optimizing a proprietary enzyme vital to the development of a large volume Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient used in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products. This represented the continuation of this successful project, the first phase of which the Company announced May 31, 2022.
- On February 22, 2023, Willow announced the appointment of Jim Lalonde, Ph.D. as its newest independent member of the Company’s Board of Directors, effective February 21, 2023. Dr. Lalonde brings extensive expertise to the Board as a pioneer of key advancements in enzyme engineering and biocatalysis that among other contributions, has revolutionized chemical production, protein engineering for food and nutrition, as well as drug discovery and development.
- On March 22, 2023, Willow and SUANFARMA jointly announced that they have, together with SUANFARMA’s CIPAN manufacturing site, completed the development and manufacturing process in pilot scale for the Willow-owned ingredient, Cannabigerol (CBG). The 36 m3 scaling-up production batches required for the forthcoming qualification and registration will be completed during 2023.
- On March 28, 2023, Willow announced that the Board of Directors appointed Dr. Chris Savile, Willow’s Chief Operations Officer, as President and Chief Executive Officer and Mr. Trevor Peters, a Director and Founder of the Company, as Chairman, effective March 28, 2023, in connection with Dr. Peter Seufer-Wasserthal’s retirement as President and CEO. Dr. Seufer-Wasserthal will continue to be a Director of the Company. Willow also announced the appointment of experienced financial executive, Raffi Asadorian, who has significant experience in the biotech and synthetic biology space, as an independent director to the Company’s Board of Directors.
- Willow ended the quarter with strong liquidity, including approximately $10.5 million of cash as of March 31, 2023, with the Company’s approved annual budget expected to be fully funded for 2023.
- The Company reported revenue of $274,000 for the quarter compared to nil revenue for the first quarter of 2022.
With the Company’s success in executing on its 2022 milestones and the anticipation that it will successfully execute on those targeted for 2023, Willow currently expects rather significant revenue growth over 2022 along with a demonstrable reduction in cash burn toward its goal of noted improvement in bottom-line financial results.
About Willow Biosciences Inc.
Willow develops and produces precision fermented functional ingredients for the health and wellness, food and beverage and personal care markets. Willow’s FutureGrownTM biotechnology platform allows large-scale production with sustainability at its core. Willow’s R&D team has a proven track record of developing and commercializing bio-based manufacturing processes and products to benefit our B2B partners and their customers. For more information, visit www.willowbio.com.
FutureGrown™ is a registered trademark of Willow Biosciences Inc. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective holders.
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Chief Financial Officer
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 results of the Willow Study, including the clinical benefits of CBG for skincare; the MSA, including the ability to accommodate new programs and to expand capabilities; the ability to obtain GRAS certification for Willow’s FutureGrown CBG;; the demand and market size potential of the synthetic cannabinoid industry; and the business plan of the Company, generally, including becoming a leader in precision fermentation, 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 and, with respect to the Willow Study, Signum Biosciences which include, but are not limited to: the expectations and assumptions set forth in the published results of the Willow Study; 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 commercialization and 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 Company’s most recent annual information form and management’s discussion and analysis 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.
Any financial outlook and future-oriented financial information contained in this document regarding prospective financial performance, financial position, cash balances or revenue is based on assumptions about future events, including economic conditions and proposed courses of action based on management’s assessment of the relevant information that is currently available. Projected operational information contains forward-looking information and is based on a number of material assumptions and factors, as are set out above. These projections may also be considered to contain future-oriented financial information or a financial outlook. The actual results of the Company’s operations for any period will likely vary from the amounts set forth in these projections and such variations may be material. Actual results will vary from projected results. Readers are cautioned that any such financial outlook and future-oriented financial information contained herein should not be used for purposes other than those for which it is disclosed herein.
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.