In September 2014, 22nd Century’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Botanical Genetics, LLC, entered into a worldwide license agreement with Anandia Laboratories Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, our Company was granted an exclusive sublicense in the United States and a co-exclusive sublicense in the remainder of the world, excluding Canada, to 1 U.S. patent and 20 patent applications relating to four genes in the cannabis plant that are required for the production of cannabinoids, the active ingredient in the cannabis plant. The Anandia sublicense continues through the life of the last to expire patent, which is expected to be 2035.
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse naturally-occurring compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors of human cells. The most notable cannabinoid is THC, the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis. However, there are dozens of other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant all of which may have medical applications independently or in combination with other cannabinoids.
To further develop our cannabis-related intellectual property, we intend to engage in research and development activities in Canada to create unique plant varieties of hemp/cannabis, such as plants with low to no amounts of THC for the legal hemp industry, and plants with high levels of CBD and other non-THC cannabinoids for the legal medical marijuana markets.
As a first priority, 22nd Century expects to produce a non-THC seed stock to grow hemp as livestock food, oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, paper, plastics and biofuels. Hemp was one of man’s first agricultural crops, and remained one of the planet’s largest crops until late in the nineteenth century. Over the centuries, recreational marijuana was bred for elevated THC levels, but hemp was bred for yield and other characteristics. Because commercial hemp varieties are biologically the same species as marijuana (Cannabis sativa), their use in the U.S. has been greatly curtailed. Even in countries which allow cultivation of hemp today, there are restrictions. Canada and the European Union only permit cultivation of hemp varieties which contain less than 0.3% THC – a level that is difficult to obtain and greatly increases the risk for farmers.