Two biotech companies have teamed up with the University of Newcastle to conduct one of the world’s most advanced cannabis genomic breeding programs.
CannaPacific and Xing Technologies have announced their collaboration, declaring that they’ll be selectively breeding different strains of cannabis plants to produce cannabis that is cheaper and easier to farm.
CannaPacific is an Australian medical cannabis company with a focus on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and palliative care medicine. They currently operate a 10,000sqm faculty in Byron Bay. Xing Technologies previously developed some of Australia’s Coronavirus diagnostic kits.
Together, they will focus on breeding strains of cannabis that are easier to grow for pharmaceutical production. This includes increasing the plant’s usefulness and reducing variation among plants. This will drop the cost of medical cannabis for patients, as it will be cheaper to grow genetically engineered cannabis than wild cannabis.
The project is expected to be carried out at the University of Newcastle long term, including participation from a number of PhD students. Director of the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Plant Science Professor Christopher Grof was quoted as saying:
We can identify specific parts of the plant genome that are significant and select which plants to incorporate into our breeding program in order to combine desirable traits.
Going forward, this mutant cannabis will be used to create new cannabis treatments and medicines that require specific components of cannabis.
The average wild cannabis plant has over 100 components, with 730 known species of cannabis internationally.
Plants for the project will come from two places. Tasmanian Alkaloids will provide some genetic material, while CannaPacific will cultivate their mutant-cannabis in an undisclosed Northern NSW location.
The company has also clarified for the benefit of Sydney stoners that no cannabis will be kept at the University of Newcastle. This project was recently approved by the Office of Drug Control and is due to start later this year.