|Calgary, Alberta – August 29, 2019 – Willow Biosciences Inc. (“Willow” or the “Company”) (CSE: WLLW) has released its financial and operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2019. Selected financial and operational information is outlined below and should be read in conjunction with Willow’s unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements for the three and six months ended June 30, 2019 and related management’s discussion and analysis which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
“Over the past few months, we have made impressive progress in advancing our business on several important fronts,” said Trevor Peters, Willow’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We have assembled a team of proven business executives and world-renowned scientists to lead the development of our high quality consumer, wellness, and pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing programs. The development of our yeast-based cannabinoid production platform is progressing well and we expect to initiate the scaling up of our process in the first half of 2020. In addition to advancing our development operations, we are focused on positioning Willow for successful future commercialization through our recently signed strategic partnership with Noramco, Inc. (Noramco), one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical cannabinoid ingredient producers.”
Highlights for the Quarter:
At our new facility in Calgary, Alberta, we focus on deploying Willow’s proprietary genomics tools to resolve the key bottlenecks that impede maximum biosynthetic cannabinoid production in our industrially appropriate yeast manufacturing system. The research team led by Dr. Peter Facchini includes 11 highly experienced scientists with backgrounds in genomics, plant biochemistry, chemistry and analytics. The 4,000 square foot secure facility employs cutting-edge bioassay capabilities, liquid handling robots, and analytical instrumentation, and leverages access to the University of Calgary’s plant cultivation resources and growth chambers.
In Mountain View, California, our team exploits a wide variety of high throughput screening technologies to identify and deploy additional genetic elements and solutions to further enhance production from our working cannabinoid-producing yeast strains. This secure facility includes cutting-edge automated yeast colony picking, liquid handling robots, and analytical instrumentation combined with large scale bioinformatics and data handling systems to rapidly evaluate high volumes of data and results.The research team currently consists of 11 highly experienced staff including several key personnel focused on strain engineering, high throughput screening and analytics assay development who were recruited from well-known industrial biotech companies.
At our lab in Burnaby, British Columbia, we have been ramping up activity and transitioning our research program from University of British Columbia to a private research facility.The research laboratory in Burnaby focuses on correlating the physical characteristics of cannabis plant strains with their unique genomic underpinnings to enable the improvement of both plant and yeast strains, and also houses state-of-the-art molecular biology and analytical chemistry capabilities.
In addition to our in-house capabilities, we are also collaborating with a precision gene editing company and a fermentation research and development company to shorten our strain engineering cycle times, cost-effectively leverage the most cutting-edge third party tools available, and accelerate development of commercial strains and processes.
Director and Officer Appointments
Willow has brought together a highly regarded team with extensive experience and expertise to guide the Company towards commercialization of its consumer, wellness, and pharmaceutical grade ingredients.
Our industry leading science team has a proven track record in the industrial setting of previously developing a multi-step yeast-based biosynthesis production platform for an active pharmaceutical ingredient. The science team members have extensive experience and knowledge in molecular biology, plant biochemistry and plant genetics and are sought-after experts in their respective areas.
Our management team and board of directors have a demonstrated history of successful business operations, including start-up organizations, biotech companies and commercial manufacturing operations. The combination of extensive industry experience, comprehensive capital markets knowledge and strong leadership abilities position Willow well to successfully execute our business plan and support long-term value creation.
Full biographies of Willow’s directors and officers can be found on our website at
Board of Directors
Business Development Update
On June 4, 2019, we entered into an exclusive JDA to collaboratively develop and commercialize a yeast-based production platform for the manufacturing and distribution of cannabidiol (CBD) with Noramco. Under the JDA, Willow is responsible for optimizing yeast strains in a biosynthetic process to produce ultrapure, high yield CBD. Given its existing expertise in the production of CBD and related compounds and its experience in delivering them for clinical and pharmaceutical applications, Noramco is responsible for scale-up, regulatory submission, marketing and distribution. The parties cover their respective costs, retain the intellectual property associated with their respective scopes of work and, as allowed by existing agreements, share equally in gross profits from sales of CBD manufactured under the JDA.
On April 12, 2019, Epimeron Inc. and BioCan Technologies Inc. completed the reverse takeover of Makena Resources Inc. to form “Willow Biosciences Inc.” and, on April 15, 2019, the Company began trading under the name “Willow Biosciences Inc.” and ticker symbol “WLLW” on the Canadian Stock Exchange.
On April 12, 2019, the Company also closed a non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of $29.2 million, including an investment of $12.1 million by Tuatara, a sector-focused cannabis private equity firm, with the proceeds to be used to support the research, development, scale-up and commercial launch of our biosynthetic pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid production program. On May 27, 2019, Tuatara exercised 9,219,390 Share purchase warrants, investing an additional $8.1 million in Willow.
On May 17, 2019, Willow completed a consolidation of its issued and outstanding Shares on the basis of one new post-consolidation Share for every 25 pre-consolidation Shares. As of June 30, 2019, Willow had 78,286,743 Shares issued and outstanding.
Willow ended the quarter in a strong financial position, with $29.6 million in working capital and $28.8 million of cash on hand.
The Corporation’s financial results are summarized as follows: