Building the Cannabis Strains of the Future

Jun 08, 2018 | Original story from TerrAscend

Building the Cannabis Strains of the Future

TerrAscend is pleased to announce the formation of a strategic joint venture with Cistron Corp. with the launch of Ascendant Laboratories a science and innovation company dedicated to the advancement of cannabinoid expressing plant biology. Ascendant Laboratories brings together leaders in plant sciences and cannabis production, with a unified vision of elevating the cannabis industry through the development of advanced plant genetics.   


Cistron has agreed to grant to Ascendant Laboratories an exclusive license over proprietary intellectual property rights and trade secrets relating to cannabis plant and plant-derived cannabinoid research, and TerrAscend has agreed to contribute cash payments of up to C$1,250,000.


Michael Nashat, TerrAscend's President and Chief Executive Officer, noted "TerrAscend is thrilled to be partnering with Cistron and its team of accomplished scientists. As a company with a major research and development mandate, TerrAscend is looking forward to adding substantial depth to our science team through this partnership with Cistron and its principals. Ascendant Laboratories will be leveraging the knowledge and experience that Cistron has developed in plant sciences and applying it to improve plant yield, add diversity, promote immunity, and modify the physical and chemical traits of cannabinoid expressing plants." 


Cistron's co-founding scientists Dr. Peter McCourt, Dr. Shelley Lumba and Dr. Dario Bonetta will lead the cannabis science and discovery programs at Ascendant Laboratories. Dr. Peter Azmi, will be appointed Ascendant Laboratories founding President and Chief Innovation Strategist.     


Dr. Peter McCourt is a Professor in the Department of Cell & Systems Biology at the University of Toronto and is a world recognized authority on functional genomics, systems biology and plant bioengineering.  Dr. McCourt holds a PhD from Michigan State University and is presently a Jack Dainty Distinguished University Professor. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications and holds several patents related to abiotic stress genes in plants.

Dr. Shelley Lumba is a leading expert in plant biology, systems biology and plant biotechnology. Dr. Lumba holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology at the University of Toronto.  

Dr. Dario Bonetta is a biotechnologist with extensive experience in plant transformation, in vitro plant systems and plant biotechnology. Dr. Bonetta holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. 

Dr. Peter Azmi is a business innovation and biotechnology specialist and has worked extensively in the life sciences and biotechnology sectors.  Dr. Azmi holds a Masters and PhD from the University of Toronto and is a visiting professor of Business Innovation at CEDIM.


Dr. Peter McCourt, President of Cistron, noted "This will be a novel endeavour that brings together the cutting-edge molecular plant biology innovation of Cistron with the leadership experience in cannabis production of TerrAscend. We look forward to developing and bringing to market exciting new technologies that will help support wellness and the future growth and prosperity of this industry."


Dr. Peter Azmi, Cistron Executive Director of Business Development, noted "We are excited to be partnered with TerrAscend on this bold venture.  Our shared vision for Ascendant Laboratories is to become a global leader and resource for cannabis plant sciences and innovation." 


This article has been republished from materials provided by TerrAscend. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.