Aurora Settles Patent Case with Willow Biosciences

The case revolved around a process for synthesizing cannabinoids.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NASDAQ: ACB) (TSX: ACB) announced that it reached a settlement with Willow Biosciences Inc. ‎(TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF) resolving the ongoing patent litigation between the two parties in Canada.

The case began in July 2021 when Aurora alleged that Willow’s biosynthetic process for synthesizing cannabinoids infringed on Aurora’s exclusive rights to patents co-owned by the University of Saskatchewan and the National Research Council. The technology of the asserted patents was invented by Anandia co-founder and former chief science officer at Aurora Jonathan Page and his colleagues, following their work at the University of Saskatchewan and the NRC identifying key enzymes and corresponding genes in the biosynthetic pathways of cannabis plants.

“We are pleased with the negotiated settlement, which provides Aurora a favorable resolution that ensures our Canadian cannabis-related patent rights are respected,” says Miguel Martin, chief executive officer of Aurora. “Aurora is a pioneer in terms of the company’s genetics work in the Canadian cannabis industry and will not hesitate to continue to take the steps necessary, including legal action, to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights when necessary.”

In December 2022, Willow consolidated its R&D operations, transferring equipment and key personnel from its Canadian facilities to Mountain View, California. However, since that time Willow moved to a new larger lab and office space in Sunnyvale, California, to accommodate its current and expected pipeline of partnered projects.

At the time, the company said that due to the availability of vacant prime office facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was able to source these new facilities cost-effectively with negligible cost increase relative to its old facility in Mountain View.

Recently Willow Biosciences announced it had completed an offering of convertible debenture units on a non-brokered private placement basis, for aggregate proceeds of C$800,000. The company said it planned to use the proceeds from the offering for the commercialization and development of its pipeline of products, working capital, and general corporate purposes.

Willow ended its second quarter with approximately $6.5 million of cash as of June 30.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

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