Seattle, Washington–(Newsfile Corp. – July 22, 2019) – CFN Media Group (“CFN Media”), the leading agency and financial media network dedicated to the North American cannabis industry, announces the publication of an article covering Willow Biosciences (CSE: WLLW) (OTC: CANSF) and the fascinating world of biosynthetically produced cannabinoids.
Believe it or not, the world’s first blockbuster drug is still one of the most commonly used today. Acetylsalicylic acid, better known as Aspirin®, is a synthetic derivative of the natural substance salicylic acid, an extract from the bark of the white willow tree. Any company would like to invent a drug that enjoys 100+ years of massive global usage and the possibility exists that cannabis could play a role in making that happen for someone.
Charting a Similar Path
People have been using salicylic acid to treat inflammation and fevers for over 2,400 years. That’s right, when Greek engineers invented the catapult about 400 B.C., they may have used salicylic acid to treat their achy joints after moving some heavy rocks into position. Later, chemist Charles Frédéric Gerhardt made a breakthrough in 1853 by creating acetylsalicylic acid for the first time. By 1899, Bayer dialed-in the chemical structure and was selling Aspirin® to the world.
Hemp, a cousin to cannabis that lacks tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive high in marijuana, is regarded as one of the world’s oldest industrial crops. It’s history dates back more than 10,000 years.
About 8,000 years ago, cannabis seeds and oil were used for food in China, with the first documented use of medical cannabis happening by Chinese Emperor Shen Neng roughly 4,750 years ago. Interestingly, the Chinese world for “anesthesia” (mázui 麻) translates to “cannabis intoxication” because it was used to sedate people (along with wine) before surgery.
Now that the ending of cannabis prohibition is sweeping the globe, there has been a huge upswing in laboratory and clinical research as biotechs and pharmas seek to bring new cannabis-based products to market. Will one of these drugs become the next aspirin?
In an interview with Bloomberg, Marc Feldmann, an immunologist who helped discover a class of drugs that includes the blockbusters Humira and Remicade, commented that there is “massive potential” for the medical uses related to cannabis. Dr. Feldman now has dedicated himself to the market opportunity, teaming with cannabis researcher legend Dr. Raphael Mechoulam to start Toronto-based CannBioRex Pharmaceuticals.
While most companies are looking to the cannabis plant for active ingredients, Dr. Feldmann believes that the key to a new class of drugs resides in synthetic cannabis.
Dr. Joseph Tucker, an experienced executive and expert in synthetic active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and drug development and commercialization, shares the view of Dr. Feldmann insomuch that synthetic cannabis represents the future for purity and repeatability in cannabis-based drug development. Dr. Tucker is the Executive Chair and Co-Founder of Willow Biosciences (CSE: WLLW) (OTC: CANSF) with the purpose of becoming the largest manufacturer of biosynthetically produced cannabinoids.
The synthetic biology company was formed this year through the merger of BIOCAN Technologies: a team of experienced executives from Calgary and researchers from the University of British Columbia, and Epimeron: a team of researchers from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
“In addition to consistency and reproducibility, synthetic cannabis can be a much more cost-effective process than plant-based extraction or chemical synthesis, the only options that companies have today,” said Dr. Tucker in a phone interview with CFN Media. “Based on our estimates, biosynthetic production is about 90% faster and cheaper than plant-based extraction. We are of the opinion that synthetic processes will ultimately re-shape how cannabinoids are produced and open new gateways to advanced pharmaceutical opportunities to help people in medical need.”
Willow’s scientific progress is complemented by a team of experts in other areas of business, including CEO Trevor Peters. Peters has co-founded four startups in the last 15 years and been involved in corporate exits totaling more than $4 billion. He was most recently CFO at Caracal Energy, a London listed energy company which Glencore bought in 2014 for $1.4 billion.