New licensing deal adds fresh buzz to joint venture

On track: An exclusive licensing agreement will light up the world’s first DNA-based cannabis-tagging system.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A partnership between a Stony Brook biotech and a Canadian pharmaceutical-solutions provider is growing like a weed.

Less than a year since introducing the world’s first DNA-based cannabis-tagging system and just five months since they upgraded the system to accommodate large-scale growers, Applied DNA Sciences and Canadian/Panamanian cohort TheraCann International Benchmark Corp. have inked an exclusive licensing deal.

The skinny: a long-term licensing agreement pairing Applied DNA’s proprietary CertainT supply chain integrity platform and TheraCann’s ETCH BioTrace seed-to-scale tracking system. The non-binding agreement is expected to be followed soon by a definitive agreement, Applied DNA said this week.

As per the term sheet, TheraCann will pay Applied DNA $5 million in “non-contingent phased payments” over six months after the signing of the definitive agreement, which is scheduled to remain in effect as long as existing patents apply, or “20 years for non-patented components,” according to Applied DNA.

James Hayward: Cannabis-do attitude.

In return, the Stony Brook biotech will add its SigNature molecular tags and its molecular-tagging application and authentication systems to TheraCann’s ETCH Biotrace system, which is designed to provide law enforcement, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders “vertically integrated traceability solutions” for legal cannabis crops, according to the international firm.

Applied DNA President and CEO James Hayward said the biotech is “very pleased to move closer to formalizing a new phase of our relationship with TheraCann.”

“Over the past year, TheraCann has been an incredible business partner,” Hayward noted, referencing a “robust joint business-development pipeline.”

“We look forward to supplying our CertainT platform as an integral component to the ETCH Biotrace system, which is capable of true seed-to-sale tracking of legal cannabis, hemp and their derivative products,” Hayward added.

TheraCann International Chief Operating Officer Chris Bolton said the international solutions provider – which in addition to Alberta, Canada, also maintains corporate facilities in Panama and Australia – takes “great pleasure” in working more closely with Applied DNA, and in taking ETCH BioTrace “to the global market.”

“We believe that ETCH BioTrace will assist global governments, law enforcement, producers, processors and distributors in stabilizing the cannabis supply chain and … assist with both domestic and international import and export,” Bolton said in a statement.