Vancouver, British Columbia – September 8, 2020 – Willow Biosciences Inc. ("Willow" or the "Company") (TSX: WLLW; OTCQX: CANSF) is pleased to announce that its subsidiary - Willow Analytics Inc. - will receive advisory services and conditional funding from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program ("NRC IRAP") supporting a research and development project to advance production of its varin cannabinoids, using its proprietary biosynthetic platform.
"We welcome the advice and funding from NRC IRAP to support our rare cannabinoid development platform," said Dr. Mathias Schuetz, Willow's Vice-President of Research & Development. "This support is an important catalyst for us to advance our strain development capabilities and will enable us to progress from lab-scale work to pre-commercialization scale up."
Willow has built a strong reputation as a high-quality, high-purity biosynthetic cannabinoid producer. Its yeast fermentation production platform, initially developed for cannabigerol ("CBG") and cannabidiol ("CBD"), has shown impressive success and Willow expects to be the first company to biosynthetically produce material amounts of cannabinoids. By varying the feedstock used in its fermentation platform, the Company has made significant progress on developing strains for its varin series of cannabinoids and will use the NRC IRAP funding to accelerate the commercialization plan for these cannabinoids.
Trevor Peters, Willow's President & CEO, added "By using the platform technology that has allowed us to advance our CBG program ahead of schedule, we are able to expand our portfolio and pursue fermentation-based production of additional cannabinoids. We have made strong progress with our varins development to date and expect the varins program to reach scale-up phase in the first half of 2021 and market-ready levels in the second half of 2021."
The varins series of cannabinoids that Willow is developing include cannabigerovarin ("CBGV"), cannabidivarin ("CBDV") and tetrahydrocannabivarin ("THCV"). These varin cannabinoids are considered minor or rare cannabinoids as they occur naturally in cannabis plants at less than one percent of biomass, making them challenging and costly to produce via cultivation. Despite the lack of supply, there are advanced clinical trials and significant recreational interest due to the possible therapeutic benefits of the Varin cannabinoids, including uses for autism, diabetes and as an appetite suppressant.
About Willow Biosciences Inc.
Willow is a Canadian biotechnology company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that produces high purity, plant-derived compounds that provide building blocks for the global pharmaceutical, health and wellness, and consumer packaged goods industries. Willow's current focus is in the production of cannabinoids for the treatment for pain, anxiety, obesity, brain disorders, among other significant indications. Willow's science team has a proven track record of developing manufacturing technologies for high purity compounds in pain and cancer treatments. Willow's manufacturing process creates a consistent, scalable and sustainable product that allows for the discovery and development of new life changing drugs.
For further information, please visit our website at www.willowbio.com or contact:
President and Chief Executive Officer
T: (403) 669-4848
Troy Talkkari, CFA
Vice President, Corporate Development
T: (403) 618-1117
150, 2250 Boundary Road, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5M 3Z3
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: Willow's milestone projections, including the timing and quantity of development scale-up and commercialization scale-up; milestone progress for the Company's varins program; the use of proceeds from NRC IRAP funding; the expected therapeutic benefits of Willow's portfolio cannabinoids, including varin cannabinoids; the market size potential of the synthetic cannabinoid industry and Willow's ability to capture market share; and the business plan of the Company, generally, including cannabinoid research and production. 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 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 to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, risks associated with: the cannabinoid 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.
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.
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