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Jeff Ubersax is aware of yeast.

The chief govt officer of Demetrix studied yeast genetics and biochemistry in class and was an early worker at Amyris Biotechnologies, a know-how firm that was utilizing fermentation to make biofuels again within the early days of the primary clear know-how growth again in 2008. 

Now, the identical know-how that Ubersax and Jay Keasling, the celebrated professor from the College of California at Berkeley who co-founded Amyris and Demetrix, used to make biofuels is being utilized to the manufacturing of hashish.

The corporate launched with an $11 million seed spherical led by Horizons Ventures, a Hong Kong-based funding fund backed by the multi-billionaire actual property mogul Li Ka-shing, to start commercializing the know-how that Keasling had been researching in his lab.

The objective was to refine a course of that may allow yeasts to make a variety of cannabinoids which can be discovered within the marijuana plant which might be used to develop new prescribed drugs, components and dietary supplements to be used in medical and client functions. The know-how works a lot the identical approach as brewing beer. Besides as a substitute of fermenting to provide alcohol, the fermentation course of produces cannabinoids from genetically modified yeast cells.

Whereas the know-how holds promise, it’s nonetheless received an extended method to go earlier than it turns into aggressive with extracts from the marijuana plant, however given new capital infusions the tide is popping.

Demetrix, as an example, has raised one other $50 million from Horizons Ventures and Tuatara Capital, an funding agency targeted on the authorized hashish business, to considerably increase its manufacturing whereas concurrently pursuing preliminary exams on the efficacy of uncommon strains of cannabinoids as therapies for sure sicknesses.

“Pure cannabinoids have been used for a very very long time,” says Ubersax. And final June the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration accepted the primary pharmaceutical derived from hashish, Epidiolex, as a remedy for sufferers with epilepsy.

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