BioHarvest Sciences marks milestone in cannabis farming that bypasses planting

Vancouver-based company utilizes plant cell growth technology.

BioHarvest Sciences developed a technology that produces active plant cells without having to grow the whole cannabis plant itself. Kyea Mofire/Getty Images

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What it did to red grapes, BioHarvest Sciences Inc. hopes to replicate with cannabis.

The Vancouver-based company is the developer and owner of a proprietary bio-farming technology that produces active plant cells without having to grow the whole plant itself.

“We take a plant once, and we never need it again,” BioHarvest notes on its website.

Scientists Yochi Hagay and Zaki Rakib founded the company in Israel.

In 2015, BioHarvest launched its first product called Vinia, which is powder made with red grape cells that did not require growing grapes.

Vinia is touted to provide the benefits of red wine, minus the alcohol, sugars, and calories that come with the conventional bottled product.

Using the same bio-farming technology, the company hopes to become a leading supplier of cannabis for recreational and medical uses.

In a media release Wednesday (July 7), BioHarvest announced that it has reached a “significant milestone” in cannabinoids production.

Specifically, the company stated that its first cell reservoir has been producing cannabinoid-generating trichomes for the past two years.

“This achievement demonstrates the efficiency and reliability of the Company’s BioFarming technology to produce the ‘flowering’ stage of the Cannabis growth cycle at scale, which is significantly shorter, more productive, and cost-efficient, and more environmentally sustainable than conventional Cannabis cultivation,” BioHarvest Sciences noted in the release.

The release went on to explain that the technology employs the original cannabis plant and its respective cells as “starting material only once”.

This allows 13-17 harvests per year compared to an average of four harvests for conventional cannabis cultivation.

“The Company’s bioreactors can reliably and continuously produce Cannabis cells without the need to source the mother plant, seeds, or any other starting material again,” BioHarvest Sciences stated.

Additionally, “This efficiency results from bypassing the ‘seedling’ and “vegetative” stage, usually taking a Cannabis plant anywhere between 6 and 13 weeks.”

Moreover, BioHarvest’s cannabis cells possess the ability to “remain in the flowering stage continuously, in contrast to a typical Cannabis flower that will terminate after 9 or 10 weeks of flowering and will be immediately followed by the end of the plant’s life cycle”.

“In that case, new starting material will need to be sourced and propagated, and new seedlings will be required to be grown through the vegetative stage, once again,” the company explained.

BioHarvest co-founder Hagay is also the company’s chief technology officer.

In the release, Hagay said that the “repeated use of the same Cannabis cell reservoir for two years is an unprecedented scientific achievement in the Cannabis plant kingdom”.

“Our ability to keep our Cannabis cells in this ‘flowering’ stage for the past two years versus conventional periods of nine weeks demonstrates the unique efficiency of our technology and puts us on track to reach commercial production using Cannabis-based compounds,” Hagay said.

BioHarvest also noted that it expects to commercialize cannabis production in the first half of 2022.

The company trades in the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol BHSC. As of this post, BioHarvest shares were trading at $0.40 each.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter @carlitopablo

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