Anandia Labs is a Vancouver-based cannabis biotechnology company with two objectives: providing leading analytical testing services to the regulated cannabis industry in Canada; and developing improved cannabis and hemp strains for safe, and effective medical applications. According to Health Canada, close to 70,000 Canadians patients are currently accessing medical marijuana from Canadian licensed producers.
Anandia Labs is an emerging leader in cannabis science including analytical testing and genomic analysis of the cannabis plant. The company was founded in 2013 by Dr. Jonathan Page, who co-led the Canadian team that sequenced the cannabis genome, and Dr. John Coleman, an organic chemist with extensive experience in drug development.
Using modern plant breeding approaches and genomics, Anandia Labs develops next-generation cannabis strains optimized to address grower and consumer challenges. They also provide analytical testing services to the cannabis industry and patient growers, and are in the process of setting up expanded facilities for extractions and other chemical processing.
The company was the recipient of the inaugural investment from Genome BC’s Industry Innovation (I²) Program in September 2016. Eight months later, we asked Dr. Jonathan Page to tell our readers a bit more about Anandia Labs and how things were going.
What are the goals of the organization?
Anandia Labs wants to help the cannabis industry become more science-driven and credible, and in the process build a valuable company that is a cornerstone of this new industry. This applies to the area of chemical analysis where we want to be a trusted source of information about the chemical composition of products. In genetics, we want to use genomics and other techniques to better define the types of cannabis that are grown and used, and to breed improved varieties. Prohibition has meant that the science of cannabis has lagged behind other crops – we hope to expand the science base for cannabis both as a medicine and as a consumer product.
What does the legalization of cannabis mean to Anandia?
Legalization represents a very large opportunity for us, one that we didn’t really foresee when Anandia Labs was founded in 2013. The federal government has placed a lot of emphasis on consumer safety, including testing of cannabis products for accurate potency and to ensure they are free of contaminants such as pesticides. This means an expanded client base of producers, and likely processors, for our testing services. I think legalization also means that while adult use (“recreational”) products may be treated like alcohol, there will be more emphasis placed on medical cannabis products that have been evaluated for their efficacy. They will be covered by insurance plans and distributed through pharmacies. Anandia Labs is well positioned to help develop these products. Legalization also means a perhaps ten-fold increase in the scale of production, which in turn requires new specialized varieties of the cannabis plant. We’re going to see a big boost in the cannabis genetics business as legalization is rolled out in 2018 and 2019. All of this is good news for Anandia Labs!
What has Genome BC’s investment enabled Anandia to do?
The investment by Genome BC came at an ideal time for us in that we could hire more staff and purchase more instruments just as the need for our testing services was increasing. There has been massive growth in the number of Canadians authorized to receive medical cannabis in the last 12 months. The funding from the Industry Innovation Program helped us meet that increased demand. It also was important in building credibility. Let’s face it, cannabis – whether it is used for medical or recreational purposes – is still controversial. Although Anandia Labs believes in what we are doing with regards to ensuring consumer safety and providing unbiased science, it is very helpful to have a science organizations such as Genome BC put their support behind us.