Octarine receives economical support to develop innovative cannabinoid therapies

Thursday 29 Apr 21

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Anders Østerby Mønsted
Communications Officer
DTU Biosustain
+45 24 67 79 47
Octarine, a spinout company from The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at DTU and University of Copenhagen, has now raised over 3 million USD.

The latest seed round financing was closed at the end of 2020 due to significant demand from new and existing investors and was led by existing institutional investors Oskare Kapital and The Danish State Growth Fund (Vækstfonden).

In general, the interest in Octarine has increased simultaneously with more worldwide attention brought to the therapeutic use of cannabinoids and psychedelics. The company is currently implementing biosynthetic production platforms for a range of natural therapeutic molecules, including psilocybin, as well as libraries of novel derivatives and the expectation is to have them ready for pre-clinical and clinical development by the end of 2021.

According to the company, the interest in the use of therapeutic cannabinoids has grown massively in recent years paving the way for using biosynthetic approaches to bring cannabinoid therapies to market. 

“With this new round of funding, we welcomed several investors to Octarine and saw significant follow-on investment from existing investors. This is a huge validation for us and shows that investors support the team and our vision. With this funding we’ll be able to expand our R&D team and facilities in Copenhagen and accelerate our development,” says Nicholas Milne, Co-founder and CSO at Octarine and former Postdoc at The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability.

Different from other firms in the field
"With this funding we will be able to expand our R&D team and facilities in Copenhagen and accelerate our development"
Nicholas Milne, Co-founder and CSO at Octarine and former Postdoc at DTU Biosustain

Larger companies such as Amyris and Gingko already work to produce the cannabinoids that are naturally found in the cannabis plant by transferring the genes found in the plant to yeast.

Octarine Bio’s point of difference is their ability to biosynthesize superior cannabinoids that are not found in the cannabis plant and are too difficult to produce by chemical synthesis. The company aims to elucidate biosynthetic pathways to pharmacologically interesting cannabinoids and engineer their productin yeast, thereby hijacking this organism’s inherent ability to cost-effectively produce molecules in high-scale fermentation.

A process that the company has been successful with in the last years, according to investors that saw the potential in Octarine already at a very early stage.

 

We scouted and first invested in Octarine two years ago and they have made phenomenal progress since then in developing a pipeline of natural and improved cannabinoid and psychedelic drug candidates. These molecules will be key building blocks for the next wave of pharmaceutical grade molecules that target poorly treated psychological and neurological conditions,” stated Alexandre Ouimet Storrs, President and Co-founder of Oskare Kapital in a press release by Octarine.

 

The same positive comments come from The Danish State Growth Fund (Vækstfonden) and while Octarine is still a young company they are potentially in the middle of entering into a market that is estimated to be 50 billion US dollars in 2030.

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