October 14, 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

The road ahead for Waymo, AV engineering and mobility, with Waymo CTO Dmitri Dolgov

July 23, 2019

July 23, 2019

Earlier this month, TechCrunch held its annual Mobility Sessions event down in San Jose, where leading mobility-focused auto companies, startups,...

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon arrive at Cape Canaveral ahead of key test for crew flight

October 3, 2019

October 3, 2019

SpaceX’s facility at Cape Canaveral just received a crucial new delivery: A Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule that...

Edgybees’s new developer platform brings situational awareness to live video feeds

April 2, 2019

April 2, 2019

San Diego-based Edgybees today announced the launch of Argus, its API-based developer platform that makes it easy to add augmented...

Tesla starts rolling out Chess to ‘Tesla Arcade’ in-car gaming app

July 26, 2019

July 26, 2019

Tesla is making a new game available to its vehicle owners, with a roll-out starting today. The company started pushing...

The most overlooked path to commercialize AI is for companies to do it themselves

April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019

The Bessemer Process patented in 1856 by Sir Henry Bessemer is one of the inventions most closely associated with catalyzing...

India loses contact with spacecraft during historic moon landing attempt

September 7, 2019

September 7, 2019

India’s attempt to become the first nation to soft land a robotic spacecraft at the moon’s South Pole, an unexplored...

Facebook is creating photorealistic homes for AIs to work and learn in

June 14, 2019

June 14, 2019

If AI-powered robots are ever going to help us out around the house, they’re going to need a lot of...

Krisp’s smart noise-cancelling gets official release and pricing

June 12, 2019

June 12, 2019

Background noise on calls could be a thing of the past if Krisp has anything to do with it. The...

Drifting champion tackles Goodwood with VR, 5G and one tiny startup’s tech

July 4, 2019

July 4, 2019

Stunt driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. took a Lincoln MKZ through its paces at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, drifting the...

Atlassian’s co-CEO Scott Farquhar will join us at TC Sessions: Enterprise

June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019

Few companies have changed the way developers work as profoundly as Atlassian. Its tools like Jira and Confluence are ubiquitous...

Daily Crunch: Everything Apple announced at WWDC

June 4, 2019

June 4, 2019

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered...

‘The Operators’: Understanding your user – The art and science of UI/UX behind Facebook, Google, Mint, and Edmodo

July 15, 2019

July 15, 2019

Tim Hsia & Neil Devani Contributor Share on Twitter Tim Hsia is the CEO of Media Mobilize and a Venture...

Millions of bank loan and mortgage documents have leaked online

January 23, 2019

January 23, 2019

A trove of more than 24 million financial and banking documents, representing tens of thousands of loans and mortgages from...

Amazon revamps Echo Dot Kids Edition and FreeTime

June 12, 2019

June 12, 2019

Announced in April of last year, the Echo Dot Kids Edition got something of a mixed reception, primarily due to...

Startups Weekly: A much-needed unicorn IPO update

March 23, 2019

March 23, 2019

As I’m sure everyone reading this knows, female-founded businesses receive just over 2 percent of venture capital on an annual...

Comments
Leave a Reply

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