Ep 324 – The Cannabinoid Science Nobody is Talking About

kevin chen hyasynth bio 1

We just reached possibly one of the largest milestones in creating pure, consistent cannabinoids in a lab. Here to tell us about it is Kevin Chen of Hyasynth Bio.

Learn more at https://hyasynthbio.com 

Key Takeaways: 

[1:32] An inside look at Hyasynth Bio and its work creating biosynthesized cannabis compounds

[3:05] Hyasynth Bio’s first product, an ultra-pure CBD oil created using cultured cannabinoids

[7:44] How Hyasynth Bio is improving CBD production in terms of both speed and purity

[9:12] Why multinational companies are gravitating towards biosynthesized cannabinoids for better consistency and supply chain performance

[13:14] 

[16:55] How biosynthesized cannabinoids are paving the way for international cannabis brands and which products Kevin believes will go global first

[21:23] How cellular agriculture is giving us better access to rare cannabinoids

[27:48] Why cellular agriculture is easier to automate and how this might influence prices in the cannabis industry

[32:21] Hyasynth Bio’s strategy to profit primarily through intellectual property licensing

[36:24] Where Hyasynth Bio currently is in the capital-raising process

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

[music]

Matthew Kind: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind. Every Monday, look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com. That's C-A-N-N-A insider dot com. Now here's your program.

Our guest today is on the cutting edge of research where laboratory science meets cannabis. As you're about to hear, we have reached what is possibly one of the largest milestones in creating pure consistent cannabinoids in a lab. I am pleased to welcome back Kevin Chen of Hyasynth Bio. Kevin, welcome back to CannaInsider.

Kevin Chen: Hi, Matt. Great to be back.

Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Kevin: I am based in Montreal, Canada. A little bit further north from you, but not too far.

Matthew: Okay. We were just talking about pumpkin. What is it about pumpkin this time of the year, everybody wants pumpkin spice, pumpkin latte? I'm not making fun of them because I'm one of those people. What is that?

Kevin: [chuckles] Not sure. Like I was saying, maybe it's a genetic thing or same as the reasons why birds like to fly south this time of year, maybe get some kind of psychological attraction to [unintelligible 00:01:16] into pumpkins, the squashes around this time of year. I've got some squashes that I'm going to cook up myself later today or next week sometime. I'm a pumpkin fan too. Why not?

Matthew: Maybe it's nesting or something. I can't figure barely. Well, Kevin, as I mentioned, you've been on the show before, but please remind us what on a high level does Hyasynth Bio do?

Kevin: We're a biotechnology company. Our main focus is on creating strains of yeast that produce cannabinoids. Instead of growing up plant having soil and adding water to that, you just have a big steel tank, you add yeast, which looks the same as baker's yeast to that big steel tank, you add some sugar and some water, let that grow for about a week, and then at the end of that, you extract pure cannabinoids from that yeast culture.

We do that by modifying the yeast cells themselves so that they have the ability to produce cannabinoids. That's genomic engineering. It's synthetic biology, it's about looking at the genome of a yeast and the genome of a cannabis plant and then taking all the genetic parts and the cannabis plant that are related to cannabinoid production and putting those into a yeast's genomes that these on its own can produce cannabinoids.

By way of analogy for anyone that's confused right now, this is the same way that we produced insulin for the past 50 years or so, where insulin is always coming from an engineered bacteria or engineered yeast. It's actually human gene for insulin that's been put inside of a yeast or bacteria genome. Then what these pharmaceutical manufacturers will do is just cultivate that bacteria, that yeast, and then extract pure insulin at the end of that. We're doing the same kind of process, but for cannabinoids, for all kinds of great reasons that we're going to talk about today, too.

Matthew: Okay. I've been banging the drum about this. This is the third time you've been on the show. In a couple years, I've been up to your lab in Montreal and I've kept on thinking, "Wow. If this really, really works, it's going to be huge for the cannabis and hemp industry, and all these other industries that we'll discuss." It sounds like you've made your first sale. Can you talk about that and what you sold and why it's important?

Kevin: Yes, definitely. I'll start with what we sold is CBD and CBDA, if you want to make a distinction between the carboxylated and the non-carboxylated form, that's more of a finer detail. At the heart of it, what we've done is successfully taken our yeast strains from our lab, handed them over to manufacturer, we gave the manufacturer instructions on how to produce the CBD using our strains. They follow those instructions, and at the end of that, we ended up with some ultra-pure 99+% pure CBD and CBDA.

It was, I would describe it like a pretty small batch, we're going to have a few small but important customers around the world with this batch. The key thing that I want to emphasize with it is that this is the first time we've taken our yeast strains out of our own hands and actually done-- We've essentially operated the business model that we want to scale up with almost where we're trying to take advantage of manufacturers that exist all around the world that can do fermentation, enabled them to use our strains of yeast to do the manufacturing of these key ingredients and have them do that consistently, robustly, and cost effectively. We can actually make these cannabinoids into products that are available worldwide and that are available with the right quality and consistency, the same as how insulin available worldwide.

Matthew: It's analogous to how Coca-Cola back in headquarters, they syrup exactly right to a specification that can be duplicated, and then they ship out small amounts to the bottlers. The bottlers, they understand the spec, and then they make their cola on-site to add the water that's to spec, the carbonation, the bottle, it's all done at the edge, where you're getting the formulation, just what it needs to be there, by your standards, or by the customer standards, by both. Then when it's time to scale up, you send them essentially the recipe in the strain in a small form that can be expanded greatly on-site. Is that right?

Kevin: Yes, exactly. That's a perfect analogy and also a good analogy, because I would say large brands like Coca-Cola have taken interest in cannabinoid-related products too. That's exactly what we essentially want to do here, so we have this level of consistency that starts to look more like that consistently that Coca-Cola has where you can get it anywhere in the world, it's always the same look, the same taste, the same brand. We want to have that be something that people can rely on and that brands can rely on.

Right now, if you imagine doing that with cannabis or hemp growth operation, to some extent, people have tried to do this in the cannabis industry and there's so many fine details about how you grow the cannabis plants, what genetics are involved, how much lighting or water or different fertilizers, pesticides, that all go into that process that it's incredibly hard to replicate that. On top of that, you have to deal with the local regulations around each of those, like cannabis growth operations you might want to operate around the world. That's going to add another layer of complexity. That makes it very difficult to actually for any larger from a company or larger brand to really want to invest in that, because there's so many of these risks and so many unique cases involved.

We really, really wanted to focus on how generic our process can be and how robust it can be and how it can be this thing that people can actually rely on. That makes it a lot like the way that Coca-Cola might manage their manufacturing practices, or any multinational brand that has that crosses borders, or that has a nationwide supply chain, because that's ultimately where we see these partners going is that cannabis has always been on its way to becoming part of that mainstream and it's come close, but it's not there yet. Right?

Matthew: Yes. Well, we mentioned the purity, but the thing that one of the other variables I'm focused on is the speed. Let's talk about how much faster this would be to get these cannabinoids versus growing them indoor or outdoor, the plant and the harvesting, curing, and extracting.

Kevin: We highlighted that in our press release stuff about this, just because it is one of the most important aspects of this and to give some experience to this, our process runs in one week. That means that by the time if you started to grow some cannabis plants and I was growing my yeast, on day 1, we said like go today, then like at the end of this week, I'd have a few hundred milligrams or a few grams of yeast or maybe two kilograms, depending on how large a batch I try and run with this stuff.

At the end of the week, I have my first product and then you will have your first maybe seedlings at the best. That's one of the key things here is that we're operating on a weak batch process. That's a huge improvement in efficiency. That changes the way that supply chain works as well a bit. With plants, of course, you're waiting like three months to grow these plants. Then at the end of that, you have to do your processing. For us, it's like this one-week turnaround. Every week, there’s new batch. It's going to make a big difference for how much you can make and how fast you can make it.

Matthew: Right. Okay. I said curing early, but that's not necessarily what needs to be done for extraction. Still, there's a huge amount of time delta here that we'll be able to be capitalized on in the future. It's not just about speed in growing cannabinoids, these big multinationals or even small companies too, they really need the lab cultures because it provides something they just can't get from extracted cannabinoids. Can you talk about what exactly, why they're gravitating to these lab room cannabinoids? What it does from what itch it scratches?

Kevin: I'll clarify a bit with the language there. I think lab-grown is a nice one way to put it. We also like to use the word cultured cannabinoids or biosynthesized cannabinoids. I think biosynthesized cannabinoids is the most popular word right now. I don't like lab-grown as much, because then it sounds like we're growing them in the natural lab and that's not-

[chuckling]

-really what we're doing. In some sense, we're still doing agriculture, it's just a different kind of agriculture. It's agriculture inside of cells. Then you can use the word cellular agriculture, which is another fun topic.

Anyways, [chuckles] your question was about like why our company, why people gravitate towards this stuff? I spent like the past six years looking at industry and to some extent, I've been doing everything that I can to get people to start gravitating toward this stuff. I think what it boils down to is a bit of those hard metrics of like, where it's coming from, how it's being made, and what that means for the end consumer. What I mean by that is that we can have a supply chain that is always going to have product available, that's a part of you always using what you always want.

We saw that issue in Canada, where medical cannabis providers would run out of supply suddenly of the strain that somebody was using. If you can imagine if you're using one dose of one particular kind of strain, it's working really well for you for whatever condition you're dealing with, and then suddenly, they're out of stock. That's totally unacceptable from a pharmaceutical supply chain kind of thing. Like if the world ran out of insulin, that'd be the biggest in the world. That's like millions of people that are suddenly in trouble. We can do that with this technology and has been done with technology before. That's one of the things that I think is key.

Other things that are a little bit softer as far as what attracts people to things are getting into the sustainability and the efficiency of it. Sustainability in the sense that like, we care about the planet, we should try and make products in environmentally friendly ways. We know that cannabis cultivation is very not friendly for the environment, in the amount of greenhouse gas [unintelligible 00:12:06] that you have, the [unintelligible 00:12:06] control, you have to put into your process. We're really targeting that as an interesting thing.

That ties into what kind of companies are people building nowadays and what do people care about from that consumer lens, whether you're a small brand or a big brand, maybe small brands here, but it's more because they want to have like an edge over their competition and looking for these kinds of things that are like, "Oh, this will be the way that this will go and the way the future is, therefore I'm going to want to use the cultural cannabinoids or the biosynthetic cannabinoids."

Even the major brands of today I think are tying on and getting behind these sustainability organic green technologies and that's what we are. That's what we provide with this industry. It's not as relevant as maybe like you could argue that producing biofuels using a yeast might be another way of more directly addressing an environmental issue with biotechnology. That doesn't mean that we can't just incorporate a random sense of sustainability into our pharmaceutical manufacturing and enter into manufacturing of consumer products as well.

Matthew: Some of these large food and beverage companies and other types of companies, they want that purity, consistency, and scale. They can't really get that through plants because even if they have a mother plant, the seedling or the clipping that they take off, the mother plant may be grown in a different environment every time. The conditions, environmental conditions are different, so the outcome may be different. We're really talking not like a mother plant, but a mother culture here that is essentially identical or cloned and reproduced over and over again.

This is the moment where you feel the multinationals are like, "Okay, this is-- We have a mature industry that's ready to give us cannabinoids and we can start looking at it as an ingredient."

Kevin: Yes, definitely. You're exactly right about that analogy of having a mother plant and the conditions except-- I guess in our case, we have like-- [chuckles] Trying to tie into that analogy. We do have a mother culture, we have seed cultures that we store and they're all super consistent and then you grow that seed culture into huge volumes and it is still consistent. There's no genetic or environmental version, or at least you have control over all of the environment that goes into your steel tank. There's no airflow concerns or humidity being in half the greenhouse being different from the other half the greenhouse somehow.

All of these things are easily controlled and consistent across our batches. That's definitely true. You could imagine like not just large scale multinational brands that people are familiar with, but also large scale ingredients suppliers that are starting to catch on to this as well, where they can see this as a process they can incorporate into their own manufacturing facility and then have a new product line, which is like-- Essentially, what it boils down to is an ingredient supply ecosystem where we're providing the technology to enable this all to happen.

Then there's manufacturers who are able to produce the ingredient at large scales and move that into the larger brands who are their main clients and purchasers. That's all like with the way pharmaceutical ingredient supply works is it's like there is a lot of different parties involved. It starts with this. It starts with this like having some kind of foundation to stand on and one that doesn't rely on the cannabis plant.

I'm reflecting back on some earlier stories from the cannabis industry where people really wanted to have special genetics or special strains. Maybe those strains were tied more to their name or their brand, rather than their actual chemical composition almost. That's going to go away. We don't need that kind of thing and it's not very useful from a pharmaceutical standpoint either when you're talking about like, "What's the actual ingredient here? What's actually giving us the benefit?" Then we have the cannabinoids, of course, and that's what we focus on.

That's another really big change of mindset is that it's less about plants and strains and greenhouses and indoor grow versus outdoor grow and tan trim versus not having trim, whatever. All these things just start to fade away and we can focus on what's actually helping people and what's actually the active ingredient of the product and how we can use that in the best possible way to treat whether it's a skin condition or epilepsy or I guess to some extent like [chuckles] an alternative to like alcohol on a Friday night, let's say. [chuckles]

Matthew: The big story here and the reason I get excited about this is that it finally paves the way for an international cannabis brand, or CBD, or hemp brand. We almost couldn't be more fragmented or decentralized industry than we are. I like all the small mom and pop businesses, I think they're fun. I enjoy that. At the same time, it would be great if there was like one brand that the whole world understood was cannabis, because I think that would really catalyze the adoption of cannabis, especially away from other traditional medicines and different, maybe even cannibalize alcohol, if we can get more cannabis out there.

I mentioned Coke, but I also think about like other brands that wouldn't exist if there wasn't some way to standardize them. McDonald's, Adidas, that's not food or medicine, but the shoes are essentially the same all over the place. Now we have this opportunity. We have enough countries that are legalizing, at least if not, THC, then nonpsychoactive cannabinoids. What's your guess? Which type of product will go global first, or at least be on multiple continents with one brand? Will it be a supplement? Will it be food? What will it be?

Kevin: Yes, that's a good question. Definitely, it's exciting times internationally in seeing who's developing which regulations. [unintelligible 00:18:44] made the point where it'd be really nice to move some of the dial there with regulations in different countries, or how people you can look at this stuff where they can look at our products and say like, "It's not coming from cannabis. We're trying to regulate cannabis." That reminds me of the whole development of the Canadian cannabis regulations where there was years of tasks forces and figuring out how to grow the plant and how to regulate that process and all that kind of--

Again, starts to fade away a bit when you start to think about like, well, fermentation. We have fermenters, we understand that. We can call somebody tomorrow and ask them how to produce things in fermenters. They'd have 50 years of expertise in that. Then in cannabis, it's a lot from the ground up kind of thinking or maybe the most experienced cannabis growers were obviously doing it illegally for a very long time. I'm excited for what that might look like on a regulatory standpoint worldwide. As far as what product do we actually-- What do you think is going to be worldwide? That's a good question.

I think there is A, pharmaceutical products is like once you get an approval somewhere, then getting that to track around the world is not too challenging to some extent. If you want to think about what are global barriers to like how we make cannabinoids available to people who need them, that's one thing that to some extent already exists with companies like GTB Pharmaceuticals, but from a standpoint of less, less pharmaceutical and more into like the consumer range, it seems like cosmetics are one of the more perceived as acceptable areas where you might have a skincare product that has this stuff in it, as opposed to one that somebody has to consume, or really, for example, again, that ties into some of the different regulatory and maybe even emotional perspectives on cannabis or on cannabinoids in general as well, because you're not going to like rub something on your skin and then get high or something like that. [chuckles]

That's not how people normally think about using cannabis. Therefore, we would have like some fresher perspective from if the stricter governments around the world to try and like enable these kinds of products to exist. The other nice thing that exists already is how the perspective of CBD like Europe, for example, is still complicated, but a lot more open to allowing CBD oils to exist in the health and wellness and nutritional supplement area. To some extent, CBD oils might be like the first one that really starts to become more available anywhere in the world.

Matthew: Yes. Similar to maybe like a five-hour energy drink, there might be something you see everywhere. That's a small little container that you drink or in some way, that's just instantly recognizable that'll just be around everywhere. This is interesting. There's also another benefit to the lab-grown cannabinoids in that it's easier to experiment with rare cannabinoids and not that they're actually rare. It's just that they're not widely adopted at the moment. Can you talk a little bit about cellular agriculture with rare cannabinoids?

Kevin: Yes, definitely. That's one of the super interesting things that excites me a lot about the technology is that with the cannabis plant, we know that there is 150 cannabinoids and there's the main ones which are THC and CBD. Does that make sense? CBG as well and it's slightly different one, but either way, there's ones that Canada has produced in large quantities and ones that are pretty soon very, very small quantities. Some of the latest research and some clinical trials, they're starting to investigate what is the potential of these more rare cannabinoids? That's an area where if I take a THCV or CBDV as an example, like that might be 0.0001% of a cannabis flower.

If you wanted to extract a gram of that, you might need like 100 kilograms of cannabis farming. That doesn't make sense as like a process. There's just not enough there. With a engineered yeast, we can actually, well, we have yeast strains that produce THCV and CBDV, and we've done that successfully and clone that pathway and network-- To figure out how to get a yeast to produce these unique compounds is a matter of like engineering, just looking at these genes, how to assemble them properly and then you have your yeast strain at the end and that takes months of time, not years. It's all about like having a breeding program for cannabis that you're going to just breed strains until you get the right one.

We know exactly what we're changing and exactly what we're doing and our process for producing these rare cannabinoids will be the same process that as what we use to produce the CBD and the THC that we'll make as well. At the heart of it, we've got the ability to clone these strains that produce these rare cannabinoids. We've already done so in a lot of cases. Now that we've done that, it's the same process as what we'll use to produce CBD essentially. We can do the same thing and have large scale quantities of these rare cannabinoids suddenly available for-- ultimately, for human consumption when you go through all the steps to prove them out. But first for researchers, of course, so that they can actually figure out how good these things are at treating different conditions.

That's to some extent, a lot of the ways that people talk about cannabis and how it's useful for so many things is coming from where there's some activity in these rare cannabinoids or in combinations of cannabinoids that right now you can't really get access to by growing just cannabis plants.

Matthew: How do you think cellular agritech culture will affect the global supply chain for cannabis and hemp? I'm just thinking that if we can grow cannabinoids, if we can use biosynthesis or cellular agriculture for cannabinoids, that can be done in more of an urban environment, or at least it doesn't have to be done in a rural environment like outdoor farming for hemp, anyway. Do you think if there's any other ways that it might affect the global supply chain?

Kevin: One of the funnier ideas [chuckles] that I think about sometimes is that a lot of the products that are made using industrial fermentation are exist in the background a little bit. Citric acid is one of the biggest ones where it was in all your foods, it's a common product, it's vitamin C, it's everywhere. That's made using fermentation. A lot of people don't really realize that, or you think it comes from oranges or something like that, but it's actually a fermentation process that's used to make that. In some ways, we want cannabinoid production to start to fade away in that direction, to where you're aware of where it comes from, or maybe actually I'll flip that around. [chuckles]

Historically, these things have faded at the background a bit. Nowadays, people care a lot more about where their parts are coming from and that's probably why cellular agriculture and licenses just become really important because we don't just want to buy a piece of meat in the store and accept that as just normal. We care about the cows and the farmers that are providing this to us which is different today than it was maybe like 10 or 20 years ago or whatever.

What I mean by what we're going to do with cannabinoids is that we're going to remove some of that drama around cannabis production and having that be a big event or having that be a headline news about, "Oh, this cannabis group is opening here," or people getting upset about the smell of cannabis plants because their neighbors growing them or controversy around like the pesticide use around cannabis and how it's making people sick. These things start to fade away and what people get in the end is that they have CBD that's available at a pharmacy maybe the same way that you might want to look at aspirin and you can buy it like on your way to work.

You can buy small jar of CBD oil and it's not a big question of, "Oh, I'm not going to take this and get sick later today," or, "Am I contributing to global greenhouse gases significantly by buying this one CBD oil thing," or, "Do I even know if there's CBD in the CBD oil that I'm buying?" All these things that exist, those are problems that are at the forefront today and those are going to start to fade away. Then we have this really nice and established and reliable ecosystem of manufacturing.

Matthew: Well, it seems like it may be correct me if I'm wrong, but cellular agriculture seems like it lends itself to automation, much more so than plants being grown. Even when I visited your lab, you have things spinning and you have things in refrigerators, all this stuff going on that I can't even describe, but it looks like, "Hey--"

Kevin: A good memory. [chuckles] You got a couple of things done already.

Matthew: Right. I was like, "Okay." These things tend to be smaller than plants, at least when they start out. All these things, these combinations that are being created of cellular agriculture can be done in an automated way. That further brings down the price, if all these experiments and all these initial cannabinoid creations done in an automated way, once it's dialed in. Do you think that's accurate? Do you think that cellular agriculture is really going to bring down the price a lot?

Kevin: Yes. I think automation definitely plays a big role in this. When you look at a fermentation facility, it's maybe a few people who sit beside behind the computer for their days watching the main factoring process go, and it's way different from a cannabis production facility where you have like people trimming plants and moving the plants around and there's always staff handling these things. Again, yes, it's much easier to manage one steel tank where you have all control every single input and output in there than it is to control like a field of Canada's plants that is going to grow and some of that's going to change and it's going to be pests or whatever.

In terms of costs, there's definitely going to be a difference there and that's an interesting one just because we-- fermentation is also-- it's not a very cheap process. [chuckles] I wouldn't put it that way. A lot of the most expensive ingredients on the planet or the most expensive pharmaceuticals on the planet are produced by fermentation. I don't want to say too much about trying to bring down the cost of CBD but there's definitely some cost benefit when you get to the right kind of scale. Let me think about what else I could say on cost. In the end, like cannabis, you do have some floor cost about how you have to handle the plant, how you grow it.

One of the complicated things about cost that's being talked about right now in cannabis is the price of CBD in the US where everybody's like, "Oh, it's so cheap, it's everywhere, no problem." Yet, there's these issues of CBD remediation where there's too much THC somehow in your hemp grow, and therefore we have to remediate it. There's issues from the FDA that are saying like, "Well, half the CBD products on the market don't even have CBD in them."

There's things like that that are starting to come out. Yes, it's easy to grow hemp, and you can try and do that, and then have this low cost, but the cost of CBD, of high quality CBD of CBD that people can actually rely on, maybe that hasn't changed as much. There's still a need obviously for technology like ours to address the cost issue and the supply issues.

One of the other exciting things about cost is when you start to get the price of your ingredients into a range that is also suitable for having this be ingredient in other kinds of products already exist. I remember one of my conversations with a food manufacturer a few years ago, which went like this, where they were super excited about getting into CBD and having products that have CBD in them and making that a new thing for them. They make and sell bars, maybe they pay like $2 for the ingredients, they sell the bar for $4.

If I'm asking them to put like, "Oh, pay an extra like $5 for a gram of CBD to put into your products." That suddenly exceeds what they understand is the cost and how it ends up actually a grocery store shelf or whatever. The cost of ingredients for them is really, really important. If it's fundamentally past a certain point, then they can't commercialize products. That's where we might be able to with fermentation, we can definitely start to break those barriers and get the cost ranges that start to make sense for these kinds of ingredients. The same thing about scale again, and so on so forth. Those are my comments in cost, a bunch of thoughts there. It's an interesting one.

Matthew: Just describe a little bit of how you envision making money here. Is this through intellectual property licensing, or some other royalty agreement? What does that look like?

Kevin: In the end, it'll be a combination of those things. It might depend a bit on who our partners are, how regulations need to be handled, and these kinds of things where it might make sense for some markets for us to get into just purely by licensing, it might make sense for others for us to get into by having a partner and their billing or facilities. I'd say to some extent, we have some options there as far as like how we might deal with each situation.

The heart of it, what we're looking for here is really the ingredients companies or those brands, or those retailers and distributors who understand the market, who have products that are out there now, and maybe they have like a market share and some other sectors, and they're curious about like, "Oh, maybe I could add CBD to my products," or, "Maybe I'm well positioned to take in the supply and commercialize like a CBD product around the US or in Canada or around the world," wherever.

Then they might want to start talking to us and see what that might look like, what commitments do they need to make to have as partner with them, and what it takes to get manufacturing online so they could start to do that kind of work. [chuckles] It'll be a little bit complicated. In the end, we have these kinds of options and choices to make. It'd be exciting to have these conversations with these different partners or investors.

Matthew: You've achieved this milestone here in selling the first lab, cellular agriculture CBD, just for people that are listening, and they're like, "Okay, what are the milestones should I look for, Kevin, to see that this is all really happening and that this biosynthesis is going to become a larger and larger part of the cannabinoid market?" What's the big one or two, maybe three things that you'd say, "Okay, look for this, and then you'll know this industry is getting traction?"

Kevin: Look for me flying overhead in a private jet that I own.

[laughter]

No, I’m just kidding. That's good. The milestones, for years, it's always been a bit of the same, I would say, where we decided to get into this. We knew that the advantages of doing this process are that it's somewhat traditional, there’s these facilities worldwide. You can take your process from your lab, put it somewhere else, and somebody else can run it for you. We've done that at least at this level to show that it works. We'll do more of that, we'll do some larger scales, that'll be one thing to watch out for.

The next thing is to prove that, of course, we can have partnerships around our technology and have ways that we can get access to the market. Does that make sense? We've done that with our relationship with Organigram, which is another big Canadian cannabis producer. Now we're looking for more partners around that and seeing who might be our best partner in maybe by country or by application and say like, "Okay, well, we're going to partner there for this product line."

One of the exciting things that's coming up now, too, is also the idea of product diversity and having a range of cannabinoids that we can make and demonstrating that. That's going to be another really interesting one, where we start to show a bit more of our ability to diversify products. With those three things, we've covered the bases a bit as far as like, here's the advantages, we've proven that these advantages make sense and that they work, and that it will be about growing the business. Of course, we're a startup, we're looking for more investors all the time a bit. That's something else that we can talk about, too.

Matthew: Where are you in the raising capital process?

Kevin: I would say we're always fundraising. There's a way for you guys, a way for people to reach out to me directly to say like, if you're sending whatever. We are looking for more capital, of course. It's going to focus on the commercialization of our technology and seeing who's around that, that can support that.

Matthew: Okay. Well, Kevin, since you've been on the show a few times, I have some different personal development questions for you.

Kevin: Cool. You should change them up, because otherwise, people will get bored.

Matthew: You're right.

Kevin: Then one day, they'll know everything about me after a few times.

[chuckling]

Matthew: They might just clone you. We don't need Kevin anymore. We can [crosstalk] What other technologies do you see on the horizon? The public may not be totally appreciating how that might dramatically change their lives apart from what you're doing in the labs, or anything else you just see, anecdotally, we're like, "Hey, this is going to have a big impact." Then people really don't understand it.

Kevin: One of the most exciting things to me is all of this other agriculture and biosciences field is interesting to me. You start to move the bar about like looking at your daily life and the [unintelligible [00:37:43] that you eat, or that you buy in the store or that you have around even today and seeing like, "Okay, well, maybe all these materials can be made using keys or bacteria or something like that."

It seemed that reality is coming up really, really fast. There's one of my favorite other companies is called Perfect Day Foods, and they're producing milk using yeast essentially, and people in the US can buy their ice cream. I can't buy their ice cream because they don't have international sales yet. [chuckles] If you're in the US, you can buy some of this interesting yeast-based ice cream, which is super exciting. I see that's right on the horizon here, that's pretty much here now. What's on that horizon is a bit more of that what else can be made and how else can biosynthesis play a role in our lives?

Matthew: Well, you mentioned ice cream, do you have a favorite comfort food?

Kevin: [chuckles]

Matthew: Your go-to? I forget that concoction that cheese curd they put on fries and stuff there in Montreal, it’s really good. What’s it called again?

Kevin: That's called poutine.

Matthew: Poutine, yes. That is really good. It sounds gross, but it's really good. What's your favorite comfort food? I don't want to put words in your mouth.

Kevin: That's pretty high on my list. I would say that the poutine element, for sure. My favorite comfort food is Chinese food actually. My dad is from Singapore originally. We grew up eating Chinese food all the time. There's a specific restaurant where I grew up, which is the one that we always go to. That's maybe my ideal comfort food spot, in my brain, that's like, "This is the one."

Matthew: I was truly impressed by the food options in Montreal. I don’t know if that's the French kind of legacy there and culture or what, but I was like, "Hey, this is really good food." Every place I went, it seemed like it was really good food. You're in a good food city.

Kevin: Definitely, yes.

Matthew: All right. Last question here. What is your favorite tool? It can be a software tool, physical tool, doesn't need to relate to what you do day-to-day. It's just you'd be bummed if you could never use this tool again.

Kevin: Let me think for a second. Maybe my favorite tool right now is my coffee grinder. I think making coffee at home and working from home, it's been a good experience, one of the silver linings of the current situation. I'll give it that. [chuckles]

Matthew: That's great. That's definitely a ritual I couldn't live without. I'll tell you what my favorite tool is. How about that? I recently got a big Berkey water filter. It's just amazing. They've been around for a long time but it purifies the water. It takes out chlorine and all the things in there and also takes out the fluoride and arsenic and all these things. I've just been amazed at how much different just drinking water it is with it. I don't have any relationship with them, but it is truly a great tool for just having pure, clean drinking water around the house.

Kevin: It's good.

Matthew: You don't have to go for water bottles and stuff like that.

Kevin: Totally. Montreal just has a bunch of scandalous things around lead in the pipes and other kinds of stuff. I think the city is actually supposed to send me a water filter for my own water but I already had my own, but I would say plus one to that, for sure. Water filters are great tools. [chuckles]

Matthew: Kevin, we learned a lot today. I feel like this was a combination of a science course and a business class wrapped into one. As we close, let accredited investors and also companies that may be interested in learning more about your cannabinoids and how they might partner with you or work with you somehow, how can these two parties work with you, accredited investors and who are interested in investing and also businesses?

Kevin: Yes, definitely. I would say our website is the best place to get started. Head over to hyasynthbio.com. You can scroll through the little animation that we've got on our website. People seem to like that a lot and then we've got a few contact forms at the bottom which people can choose whichever one they feel like they fall into. Then that'll get sent over to me and leave a bit of information about yourself and what you're looking for and I'll do my best to help out.

Matthew: Kevin, thanks so much for coming on the show yet again and educating us on what's going on. This is a fast-moving industry and I watch it very closely. Well done with your business and keep us updated.

Kevin: Likewise and really glad to be back and glad to hear CannaInsider keeping up the good word and I'll happy to be back again sometime in the future, of course.

[music]

Matthew: If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five-star review helps us to bring the best guests here. Learn more at cannainsider.com/iTunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at cannainsider.com/trends.

Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on CannaInsider? Simply send us an email at feedback@cannainsider.com. We'd love to hear from you. Please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice, contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis for using it for medical treatments. Emotional consideration may be provided by select guests, advertisers, or companies featured in CannaInsider.

Lastly, the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the company's entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions. Final disclosure to see if you're still paying attention. This little whistle jingle you're listening to will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for listening and look for another CannaInsider episode soon. Take care. Bye-bye.

[00:43:59] [END OF AUDIO]