Evogene Ltd., a biotechnology company developing novel products for life science markets, announced it has established  a new subsidiary – Canonic Ltd – to develop next generation medical cannabis products. Evogene has been evaluating the medical cannabis field for more than a year, including market evaluation, obtaining governmental approvals for its research program and the establishment of a research facility, technology assessment and initial product line planning. Canonic’s initial activities will focus on creating improved cannabis varieties by addressing the current developmental roadblocks of yield, stability and specific metabolite composition. These development efforts will be based on the utilization of Evogene’s broadly applicable leading Computational Predictive Biology (CPB) platform, which has in the past demonstrated success in addressing similar objectives for other crops.

The current cannabis market is estimated at $13 billion and is expected to grow to $24 billion by 2025[1]. Although the cannabis market is growing rapidly, it is well recognized that next generation products will need to address the current limitations of: (i) low metabolite yield – causing high costs for patients, (ii) low variety stability – causing inconsistent products that have become unreliable as a medical treatment and (iii) uncertainty in connecting cannabis metabolite profile to specific medical indications.

Evogene is uniquely positioned to provide a significant competitive advantage in the resolution of these development roadblocks through its CPB platform and its recognized capabilities as a leader in the area of plant genomics. These capabilities have been developed and utilized for more than a decade through multiple collaborations with world leading ag-companies such as BASF, Bayer, Corteva, ICL and Monsanto focusing on crop improvement via plant genomics and are now expected to allow Evogene’s newly established subsidiary, Canonic, to not only meet the challenges but also to accelerate the product development process through its predictive science driven approach.

Canonic’s current workplan focuses on three main product types, through a non-GMO approach: (i) high metabolite yield cannabis varieties (ii) stable varieties with consistent metabolite performance and (iii) cannabis varieties with a unique metabolite profile tailored to specific medical indications. The indications that the company will currently address are: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe chronic pain and cancer.

“Having led Evogene’s Ag-Seeds division for the past few years, I am proud to now lead Evogene’s cannabis activity as Canonic’s CEO,” said Dr. Arnon Heyman, Canonic CEO. “Evogene’s cutting edge genomic technology, alongside our multidisciplinary team of professionals, uniquely positions Canonic to bring to market the most advanced, stable and consistent next-generation medical cannabis products, and I am confident we can make a significant impact in the world of medical grade cannabis.”

As Evogene has previously reported, in order to take full advantage of its broadly applicable CPB platform, Evogene focuses – either as an Evogene division or a subsidiary – on a number of significant life science based markets in which its technology can serve as the key differentiator in the development of next generation products. As with each of Evogene’s market focused subsidiaries, Canonic, as a wholly owned Evogene subsidiary, will have full corporate capabilities while continuing to have access to Evogene’s CPB platform for its market area of medical cannabis.  In addition, Canonic will have the right to pursue its own business strategy and secure additional financial resources at appropriate times in the future.

[1] Source: The cannabis annual report, Frontier financial group