Converting sugars into pure, pharmaceutical-grade rare cannabinoids: this company’s breakthrough

In an exclusive interview with Benzinga Dr. Shane Johnson, MDvice president and CEO BayMedicasheds light on the company’s innovative approach to cannabinoid production.

With a background in cannabis and cannabinoid science and credentials from Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Johnson is at the forefront of this scientific revolution.

How is BayMedica’s biosynthesis platform revolutionizing cannabinoid production? And what are the main benefits for the cannabinoid industry?

“In the past, the cannabinoid market was mainly focused on THC and CBD, but now we recognize the existence of around 150 cannabinoids, many of which have unique properties. This has led to the emergence of rare cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, CBC, THCV, etc. ., for sale, Johnson said. These can be extracted from hemp or produced through chemistry and precision fermentation. For rarer cannabinoids, modern manufacturing techniques are more efficient than plant-based methods, ensuring that the end product matches the compound in the plant.”

A revolution in biosynthesis

BayMedica’s pioneering biosynthesis platform is revolutionizing the production of rare cannabinoids. This innovative process transforms simple sugars into pure, pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, bypassing the need for traditional plant cultivation or extraction.

The method uses common brewer’s yeast and turns it into a biological factory for the production of individual cannabinoids. This approach not only increases efficiency, but also eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals.

“Modern manufacturing techniques primarily address the challenge of obtaining rare cannabinoids in high purity, which is difficult and expensive to extract from plants, especially for compounds like CBDP, which are present in small amounts,” Johnson said. These technologies not only require less biomass, but also mitigate problems such as pesticide use and soil pollution associated with crop production.”

Precision Fermentation: A Game Changer

During fermentation, yeast converts sugars into significant amounts of target cannabinoids in a process that ensures extreme purity, free from impurities and unwanted by-products.

Compared to traditional methods, precision fermentation offers a cost-effective and sustainable alternative, especially for the production of rare cannabinoids.

“Plants efficiently produce THC and CBD, but for rare cannabinoids, chemical and biosynthetic methods are more cost-effective and efficient, (…) examples of the effectiveness of chemical synthesis include caffeine in energy drinks and coke, which is typically synthesized because it is economically impractical by extracting it on a large scale from coffee beans or tea leaves and avoids the undesirable flavor profile of naturally extracted caffeine, Johnson explained.

Similarly, vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin D, which are used to fortify almost all milk, are also chemically synthesized because natural sources do not provide enough of these vitamins for bulk use.

Impact on the cannabinoid market

Johnson highlighted the rapid growth of the cannabinoid market.” In terms of cost, extracting a rare cannabinoid like CBDP from plants is highly impractical and expensive, costing hundreds of thousands to millions per kilogram. In contrast, modern manufacturing can produce it for less than $10,000. /kg in scale.

Cost advantages and industrial applications

According to Johnson, precision fermentation offers significant cost and quality advantages over traditional cultivation and extraction, especially for rare cannabinoids.

The process enables consistent, repeatable, high-quality production that is essential for consumer packaging and pharmaceutical applications.

By making extremely pure rare cannabinoids the ingredients, the formulator can create a final product with the same profile every time it is made, either using a single cannabinoid or a specific ratio of half a dozen cannabinoids, giving the end user a consistent effect. and predictable experience, Johnson explained.

Especially as the entire cannabinoid industry matures and moves further into mainstream consumer packaged goods (CPG), this consistency and repeatability will go from being a nice to have to a necessity.

Customized cannabinoid preparations

BayMedica focuses on producing rare cannabinoids as ingredients, allowing formulators to create specific products for targeted effects.

Examples include formulations combining CBC and CBD for pain relief, and THC:THCV ratio products for increased energy and reduced hunger.

Photo: AI-Generated Image.

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