July 21, 2019 News Magazine

Cannabis processing startups hope to unlock new chemicals and treatments

Jeff Ubersax knows yeast.

The chief executive officer of Demetrix studied yeast genetics and biochemistry in school and was an early employee at Amyris Biotechnologies, a technology company that was using fermentation to make biofuels back in the early days of the first clean technology boom back in 2008. 

Now, the same technology that Ubersax and Jay Keasling, the celebrated professor from the University of California at Berkeley who co-founded Amyris and Demetrix, used to make biofuels is being applied to the production of cannabis.

The company launched with an $11 million seed round led by Horizons Ventures, a Hong Kong-based investment fund backed by the multi-billionaire real estate mogul Li Ka-shing, to begin commercializing the technology that Keasling had been researching in his lab.

The goal was to refine a process that would enable yeasts to make a range of cannabinoids that are found in the marijuana plant which could be used to develop new pharmaceuticals, additives and supplements for use in clinical and consumer applications. The technology works much the same way as brewing beer. Except instead of fermenting to produce alcohol, the fermentation process produces cannabinoids from genetically modified yeast cells.

While the technology holds promise, it’s still got a long way to go before it becomes competitive with extracts from the marijuana plant, but given new capital infusions the tide is turning.

Demetrix, for instance, has raised another $50 million from Horizons Ventures and Tuatara Capital, an investment firm focused on the legal cannabis industry, to significantly expand its production while simultaneously pursuing initial tests on the efficacy of rare strains of cannabinoids as treatments for certain illnesses.

“Natural cannabinoids have been used for a really long time,” says Ubersax. And last June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first pharmaceutical derived from cannabis, Epidiolex, as a treatment for patients with epilepsy.


Source: TechCrunch

Tags: in Uncategorized
Banner
Related Posts

UK military veteran launches crowd-funding for Pixie app to revive local stores

March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019

What if, instead of sitting on your phone on the sofa ordering stuff from Amazon, you could buy the same...

Helping children overcome their mobility challenges, Trexo Robotics gets a Y Combinator boost

February 25, 2019

February 25, 2019

Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi didn’t know it when they met at the University of Waterloo 11 years ago, but...

Judge orders net neutrality lawsuit to go ahead despite shutdown

January 17, 2019

January 17, 2019

This week the possibility emerged that the ongoing government shutdown could delay net neutrality’s day in court — but the...

Carmen Sandiego returns to Google Earth with a new caper

June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019

Google Earth first made use of its rich global 3D visualization as a backdrop for a Carmen Sandiego tie-in back...

Nvidia significantly lowers revenue guidance

January 28, 2019

January 28, 2019

Nvidia can’t stop falling. The company has cut its guidance for its upcoming earnings report. The company expects to generate...

U.S. rule changes could mean more startups would need government approval to hire immigrants

March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019

Jeff Farrah Contributor Share on Twitter Jeff Farrah is the general counsel of the National Venture Capital Association. Big changes...

Check out the first interior view of Honda’s Urban EV prototype

February 13, 2019

February 13, 2019

Honda has been teasing its all-electric urban vehicle in 2017, when the automaker showed off its vision of the future...

Algolux announces Ion, a development platform for autonomous vision systems

March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019

Algolux, founded in 2015, isn’t exactly a household name in the already-crowded world of automotive computer vision. But the Quebec-based...

Y Combinator bets on the booming podcast industry

March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

Podcasts are exploding in popularity and Y Combinator, the startup accelerator known for its long list of unicorn graduates, is...

Shyp is preparing for a comeback under new management

June 16, 2019

June 16, 2019

Fifteen months after shutting down, Shyp is getting ready to launch again. The startup tweeted today that “We are back!...

Canadian startup Sweet Reason as sparkling spin on CBD beverages

July 2, 2019

July 2, 2019

Sweet Reason chief executive Hilary McCain says she launched her sparkling CBD-infused water brand because of her own obsession with...

Huawei says it shipped 59M smartphones in Q1 as revenue jumped 39% to $27B

April 22, 2019

April 22, 2019

Fresh from an $8.8 billion profit last year, much-maligned Chinese tech giant Huawei is touting yet more growth. The firm...

Sonos partners with Ikea and announces $99 speaker

April 8, 2019

April 8, 2019

Ikea and Sonos are partnering on a a new range of connected speakers that will be available in August 2019....

Startups Weekly: Will Trump ruin the unicorn IPOs of our dreams?

January 12, 2019

January 12, 2019

The government shutdown entered its 21st day on Friday, upping concerns of potentially long-lasting impacts on the U.S. stock market....

Coinbase launches in 11 countries with crypto-to-crypto conversions only

April 17, 2019

April 17, 2019

Coinbase is currently only available in 32 countries around the world — mostly in North America, Europe, Australia and Singapore. Today,...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *