Canopy Growth's venture capital arm eyeing biosynthesis investment

TORONTO — Canopy Rivers Inc., the venture capital arm of cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp., says it is eyeing the technology that can potentially produce cannabinoids without having to grow the pot plant and anticipates making an investment in the biosynthesis space within the next year. 

Canopy Rivers chief executive Narbe Alexandrian says the company has spoken with more than 50 companies across the globe and is watching a few of them closely, adding it’s “just a matter of executing.”

Several biotechnology firms are moving towards synthetic production of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids in a lab, using ingredients such as sugar and yeast, which if successful, can potentially produce these active compounds more cheaply than traditional cultivation and extraction.

Alexandrian says in an interview after Canopy Rivers held its Symposium in Toronto that he anticipates that the real disruptors will be companies that are focusing on generating cannabinoids other than THC and CBD, as these minor cannabinoids are much more difficult to produce from plants but potentially have unique applications.

Meanwhile, although there is growing buzz around magic mushrooms and the medicinal applications of psilocybin and Canopy Rivers has received some pitches from companies in this space, Alexandrian believes it is too early for an investment.

He says that, compared to cannabis, the stigma is larger and the number of people who have tried magic mushrooms is fewer, but Canopy Rivers is watching in case potential for medicinal psilocybin develops further.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2019.

Companies in this story: (TSXV:RIV, TSX:WEED)

The Canadian Press