Calgary, Alberta and Mountain View, California – December 14, 2022 – 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 functional ingredients announced today a recap of key milestones the Company has successfully achieved in 2022, as well as its business outlook and key targeted milestones anticipated for 2023 to expand growth.
Along with previously announced actions to optimize the business for market success while reducing cash burn and protecting its balance sheet, the Company has continued to successfully execute on its strategic goals and milestones toward year-end 2022.
Milestones Achieved During 2022
- New cannabigerol (“CBG”) downstream process (“DSP”) that has been optimized for increased yield and efficiency was fully tech transferred to a large contract manufacturing organization (“CMO”) for producing commercial material to sell to existing and new customers
- Signed first collaborative deal outside of cannabis for production of a large volume ingredient
- Second collaboration announced with Kalsec Inc., a leading global producer of natural taste and sensory, food protection, colors and advanced hops ingredients for the food and beverage industry
- Expanded its wholly owned product portfolio by completing proof of concept work on new functional ingredient, Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a red pigment and powerful antioxidant with a high price point and market opportunity estimated at $750 million in 2022, growing to greater than $1 billion in 2027*. Currently, >90% of Astaxanthin is produced synthetically.
- To better control its cannabinoids market opportunity, recently terminated its Joint Development Agreement for CBD with Noramco, giving Willow full control over its future for CBD, while owning all the IP the Company generates.
*Per third-party market research reports from Transparency Market Research, Global Market Insights, IMARC, and Markets and Markets.
With this executional foundation in place, there is significant market potential for both additional partnered projects and those Willow may pursue on its own. These core capabilities can accelerate time to market in helping customers rapidly adapt to supply chain issues caused by shortages, regulatory changes, end market demand by consumers for products better supporting the environment, and overall sustainability goals. Added to those benefits is the fact that the Company’s expert precision fermentation ability to develop ingredients can lower cost relative to traditional sourcing from plant, animal or chemistry and help foster more rapid product innovation for companies in the competitive markets they serve. With its FutureGrown™ technology platform and talented people to be successful in broader and larger markets, the Company is well positioned to pursue its next targeted milestones for 2023 with a keen focus on near-term revenue generation.
Milestones Targeted For 2023
- First large-scale batch of CBG produced at new CMO for existing and new customers
- Based on existing data, expect attaining independent conclusion of generally recognized as safe (“GRAS”) for Willow’s CBG
- Anticipated milestone payments for technology transfer of first two partnered projects
- At least one new partnered development program for a functional ingredient
- Astaxanthin strain wholly owned by Willow expected to be productive enough to start downstream process development
- With expected ongoing success of the aforementioned 2022 milestones and the anticipation that the Company 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 a noted improvement in bottom-line financial results.
“We are very proud of what our team has achieved during 2022 and truly excited by the opportunity that lays before us in 2023 to highlight the utility of our platform in meeting time to market, cost and sustainable supply chain needs for our customers’ and our own endeavors through precision fermentation technology,” said Dr. Peter Seufer-Wasserthal, Willow’s President and CEO. “With the steps we have taken we believe we are in the strongest position ever to wield our core capabilities and talented R&D team to successfully tackle new challenges, unlock shareholder value and do what we can to support a healthier planet using clean technology to solve real world problems.”
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.
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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 business plan and strategy of the Company, including becoming a leader in precision fermentation, research and production of functional ingredients; near term revenue generation and burn rate reductions; growth expansion and the achievement of targeted milestones in 2023; the ability to accommodate new programs and to expand capabilities; the continued development of Willow’s FutureGrown™ CBG; the demand and market size potential of the synthetic ingredients industry; and the ability to capture value as the market develops. 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 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 biotechnology 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, balance sheet, costs 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.
Certain information contained herein has been obtained from published sources prepared by independent industry analysts and third-party sources (including industry publications, surveys and forecasts). While such information is believed to be reliable for the purposes used herein, Willow does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy of such information. The sources cited in this news release have not consented to the inclusion of any data from their reports, nor has Willow sought their consent.