Willow Biosciences Signals Commercial Leap for Synthetics

The company, which creates cannabinoids from yeast, signaled advances with new partnerships and commercial agreements.

Biotech firm Willow Biosciences Inc. (TSX: WLLW) (OTCQB: CANSF) announced a record rise in its 2023 revenue and outlined an ambitious plan for further growth in 2024.

The growth can be mostly attributed the development and implementation of its BioOxi technology platform, CEO Chris Savile said in a news release Wednesday.

While it wasn’t specifically mentioned, one focus area Willow is known for is the industrial manufacturing of bioproducts in the cannabinoid space, using synthetic biology to produce compounds typically derived from cannabis, such as cannabigerol.

The approach is distinct from traditional cannabis cultivation in that it involves using yeast fermentation to produce pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids from the plant.

According to the company, its revenue growth in 2023 coincided with the launch of BioOxi, an AI-driven bio-oxidation platform aimed at more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing processes.

The company expanded its portfolio in 2023, including partnerships with entities such as Kalsec and an undisclosed Nasdaq-listed biopharmaceutical company, as well as developing its own high-value corticosteroids program.

In addition, Willow underwent a corporate and operational reorganization in 2023. That restructuring included consolidating operations in the San Francisco Bay area and transitioning its management team to focus on reducing operational expenses.

Outlook

For 2024, Willow has outlined plans to build on its current technological and partnership foundations. The company anticipates executing commercial agreements that could include milestone, profit-sharing, licensing and royalty arrangements.

Willow also plans to transition research and development programs to commercial production, aiming to generate revenue from at least two products.

The company has projected a significant increase in revenues for 2024, anticipating over 100% growth compared to 2023. A key focus will be on commercializing its corticosteroid programs, with potential partnership discussions underway for large-scale manufacturing.

“Given the ongoing discussions with potential partners with regards to our transformative manufacturing process for hydrocortisone, prednisolone, budesonide and other corticosteroids, the Company anticipates execution of one large strategic partnership or multiple product specific partnerships to bring these target molecules to commercial scale manufacturing,” it said.

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson writes about the cannabis industry for the Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri Statehouse for the Columbia Missourian and has written for the Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter at @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.


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