Biomedican: scientific research and production know-how

Pure rare cannabinoids and astaxanthin are grown by proprietary yeast

biomedican - synthetic biology

Our unique method

Our unique method

Biosynthesis, not chemical synthesis

Chemical synthesis is the creation of compounds through artificial means by a chemical reaction. Compounds derived from chemical synthesis often possess components that differ from the desired naturally occurring compound. These components can be toxic and result in undesirable side effects. ​

Biosynthesis is the production of the desired compound through the natural means of an organism’s biological processes. Biosynthesis produces identical compounds to those found in nature, lending itself as the optimal pathway for the manufacture of cannabinoids and carotenoids identical to their naturally occurring counterparts.​

Proprietary oily yeast

Biomedican’s proprietary yeast Yarrowia Lipolytica (YL) is the ideal micro-organism for cannabinoid biosynthesis. ​

Biomedican’s YL has been optimized for the efficient production of CBGA and other rare cannabinoids. This optimization is a result of genetically engineered enzymes NphB and THCA synthase.​

In contrast, non-proprietary YL, which contains unmutated NphB, produces lower levels of CBGA with large amounts of undesirable by-products.​

Patented IP in synthetic biology

Biosynthesis produces compounds that are 100% pure, more environmentally sustainable, cheaper, and several months faster to produce. This efficient method of production has been used by renowned drug manufacturers to produce consistent results and reliable products.

Our patented method, which can be upscaled to produce larger volumes, involves biosynthesis of pure cannabinoids with the use of proprietary yeast strains. (Patent pending US20200165644A1).

Rare cannabinoids

Why should we care about rare cannabinoids?

The human body contains different cannabinoid receptors that help regulate critical processes, including learning, memory, neuronal development, appetite, digestion, inflammation, overall mood, sleep, metabolism, and pain perception. This considerable involvement of cannabinoid receptors, critical to many physiological systems, underscores their potential as pharmaceutical targets.

Pharmacological research has uncovered several medical uses for cannabinoids, which bind to cannabinoid receptors. They’ve been shown to help with pathological conditions such as pediatric epilepsies, glaucoma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia,  and have anti-tumor effects and promote the suppression of chemotherapy-induced nausea. This ongoing research is becoming more prevalent and has the potential to uncover therapeutic uses for an array of cannabinoids.

In addition to the medical field, other prominent sectors have adopted the use of cannabinoids. There is an increasing demand for cannabinoids in inhalables, the food industry, and in hygienic and cosmetic products. Veterinary uses for cannabinoids are also prevailing. The use of naturally occurring cannabinoids reduces the need for synthetic alternatives that may produce harmful off-target effects.

Although the most recognized cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), many other non-inebriating cannabinoids exist. These cannabinoids are rare as cannabis plants produce them in tiny quantities compared to THC and CBD. As their identity gains prevalence, their medical uses also surface:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and neuroprotective properties.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) and its precursor Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA) are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial agents and stimulate bone growth.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) and its precursor Cannabinolic acid (CBNA) help regulate sleep and mitigate insomnia, anxiety, and pain.
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and its precursor Tetrahydrocannabivarin acid (THCVA) assist memory, reduce appetite, have neuroprotective properties, and stimulate bone growth.

Those unique qualities of rare cannabinoids open an enormous opportunity to create new drugs and food supplements for treating various medical conditions and improving the quality of life.

Current challenges with producing rare cannabinoids

Rare cannabinoids exist in minimal quantities in cannabis plants, making their extraction and purification inefficient, costly, and environmentally taxing. It takes 10 kilograms of cannabis plants to produce less than 2 grams of rare cannabinoids. Cannabis cultivation is labor, time, and energy-intensive and can produce inconsistent yields prone to contamination from pests, mold, and pesticides. Significant regulatory oversight is also necessary during the handling of cannabis plants, which contain THC – a Schedule I compound in the United States.

Chemical synthesis of rare cannabinoids has become the leading method for the production of these rare, high-value compounds. However, chemical synthesis leads to the production of non-naturally occurring forms of these cannabinoids, which can have unwanted side effects. To overcome the large gap in the supply chain, reduce the environmental footprint, decrease the time of production, circumvent regulatory oversight, and produce high-quality cannabinoids with the exact chemical structures as naturally occurring cannabinoids, Biomedican uses a method of production called biosynthesis.

Unique advantages of our method

Biosynthesis is a process that has been used for many years in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries to produce desired compounds in large quantities. Biosynthesis revolutionizes the production of cannabinoids by reducing the cost of their production by 70-90%. It also reduces the time of cannabinoid production from several months (in the case of cannabis cultivation) to just a few days.

During biosynthesis, an organism converts one compound into another through natural metabolic processes. Biomedican has a patented oily yeast strain (Yarrowia lipolytica or “YL”), an organism used to produce rare cannabinoids. Our proprietary YL contains genetically enhanced enzymes (NphB and THCA) that allow for the highly efficient production of rare cannabinoids during fermentation. Just as a cannabis plant stores cannabinoids in oily droplets, YL has oily compartments for the production of cannabinoids, which allow it to bypass the anti-fungal properties of cannabinoids. Oils and cannabinoids are derived from the same initial compounds, so an increase in oil production means greater cannabinoid production. YL can yield 80% of its weight in oils, making it an efficient micro-organism for cannabinoid production.

In short, our cannabinoids are biosynthetically produced by our proprietary yeast, which allows for the efficient, cost-effective, environmentally friendly production of large amounts of rare cannabinoids to meet increasing market demand.

Biomedican - rare cannabinoids

Rare Cannabinoids

Biomedican - biosynthetic astaxanthin



Why astaxanthin (ASX)?

Astaxanthin (ASX) is a powerful and natural antioxidant known for its various health benefits and applications in the fields of dermatology and cosmetology. ASX is a compound, generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, that has been used to delay aging, decrease the appearance of wrinkles, and increase moisture retention by improving skin health and protecting against ultraviolet radiation (UV). As a powerful antioxidant, ASX is more potent than even beta carotene and vitamin E in relieving oxidative damage, the cause of several skin diseases. ASX also plays a role in promoting liver function, immunity, joint, prostate, and heart health.

ASX has other commercial applications besides cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals. It is in high demand in the animal and human food industry as it is the compound that gives certain fish their distinctive red color. The powerful antioxidant properties of ASX are exploited in aquaculture and the poultry industry to supplement farmed animal diets. Feeding ASX to fish and poultry increases animal pigmentation, stress tolerance, disease resistance, reproductive capacity, UV-protection, and improves animal survival. These benefits result in a better quality animal product that is more desirable by consumers, increasing the price and profit margins of the final animal product.

Unique advantages of our biosynthetic ASX

Astaxanthin (ASX) is a carotenoid naturally produced by algae. The extraction of ASX directly from algae is inefficient as algae are slow-growing, making chemical synthesis the leading method of ASX production. Although chemical synthesis of ASX is cost-effective, several safety concerns arise from the use of synthetic ASX. Chemical synthesis leads to the production of stereoisomers (compounds with the same molecular components as ASX with a different spatial arrangement of atoms). The different spatial arrangements of ASX stereoisomers can lead to unwanted side effects after human consumption.

Biosynthesis of ASX eliminates the production of undesirable stereoisomers, allowing for the specific creation of ASX found in nature. Our proprietary yeast undergoes fermentation to consistently produce large quantities of high-quality biosynthetic ASX, identical to its natural counterpart, at the same economical price as chemical synthesis.

Our scientific partners

Imperial College London - Biomedican scientific partner
DTU - Biomedican scientific partner
Clemson University - Biomedican scientific partner