Cultured ingredients offer a more accessible and sustainable way to produce an array of important products across industries. In our landmark partnership with Cronos Group, we are working to produce pure cultured cannabinoids at industrial scale.
Cannabis is a rapidly growing industry, predicted to reach $57 billion worldwide by 2027. The cannabis plant produces hundreds of different cannabinoids with a range of potential pharmaceutical applications. The most highly concentrated of these compounds are THC and CBD; other molecules such as CBC, CBG, and THCV are present only in minute quantities, making them impractical to extract and purify. While the first two compounds currently constitute over 80% of the current cannabinoid market, rare cannabinoid variants are a significant new market opportunity if they can be produced in pure form at scale—with uses ranging from antioxidants to therapeutics.
By transferring the DNA sequences for cannabinoid production into organisms such as yeast and E. coli, and using the foundry and our existing high-throughput fermentation processes, Ginkgo is building strains that produce these cannabinoids at high quality and purity, starting with eight target cannabinoids. The cultured cannabinoids are identical to those extracted from the plant using traditional methods. By capitalizing on the power of biological manufacturing, we can unlock access to medically important cannabinoids that can be scaled up and produced reliably.
Cronos Group, a vertically integrated cannabis company, has gathered extensive data on the full spectrum of cannabinoids and their properties to determine the best molecular pathways for synthesizing them. To scale manufacturing of products from this partnership, Cronos has purchased an 84,000 square foot fermentation facility in Winnipeg, Canada. We’re thrilled to be working with Cronos as they build the world’s most innovative cannabinoid platform.
WHAT WE'VE ACCOMPLISHED
To date, we have run 8 million tests of more than 10,000 engineered strains, leveraging 30,000 different gene constructs—all in the course of just two years. These efforts yielded several strains with industrially-relevant titers for multiple rare cannabinoid compounds, with the most promising carried forward to pilot-scale production.
Plants like cannabis hold many unique compounds that can have important health benefits. With synthetic biology and fermentation, those rare products can be made accessible at a commercial scale. For more information, visit thecronosgroup.com.