Loyalist College Receives Government of Ontario Funding for Cannabis Tissue Culture Project

Belleville, Ontario, July 8, 2021 – Loyalist College has been awarded funding by the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), through the province’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program, to conduct a two-year ‘Process Optimization for Production of Cannabis Starter Plants from Tissue Culture’ project with Apollo Green.

“The outcome of this exciting applied research project has the potential to change and shape the future of cannabis production,” said Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, Loyalist College President and CEO. “We’re grateful to the Ontario Centre of Innovation for this VIP funding, which will enable the College’s Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis to explore advanced plant tissue culture which supports Apollo Green’s efforts in growing genetically identical, high-yield plants for commercialization. Together, we are envisioning solutions to an industry-wide challenge, while providing our students with a one-of-a-kind applied academic experience.”

With this VIP funding, the College’s Centre for Natural Products and Medical Cannabis aims to determine cannabinoid profiles, growth patterns, environmental and nutrient requirements, and disease resistance of Apollo Green’s 600 cannabis varieties, while establishing commercial viability.

“Apollo Green is thrilled to enter into this project and continue collaborating with Loyalist College,” said Vinay Singh, Chief Science Advisor. “The variables in growing cannabis are numerous, and it’s critical to understand how they impact the propagation process. To be successful it’s essential that we constantly look at ways to optimize our production processes and nurture future innovation. This project will allow students to contribute to our growth while we all learn and produce the highest quality products for our customers.”

Findings from Loyalist College’s research will help Apollo Green optimize its cannabis production processes to efficiently produce starter plants for the Canadian market. This process is expensive and carries significant risks of project failure as all plants are exposed to the same environment in the same space. The backup and storage of these varieties is an issue as it requires space, time and labour to maintain living plants in a regular indoor growing environment using traditional methods, such as pots, soil and lights.

For five Loyalist College Bioscience and Cannabis Applied Science students, this project provides a unique work-integrated research opportunity to learn about cannabis propagation and evaluation of factors impacting growth and market sustainability.

“OCI is pleased to support R&D collaborations between Ontario’s industry and postsecondary institutions,” said Claudia Krywiak, OCI President and CEO. “Solving industry-based challenges and driving commercialization outcomes is the foundation of the province’s VIP program.”

The province’s VIP program helps eligible Ontario companies develop, implement and commercialize technical innovations by supporting industry-academic collaborations, allowing industry to leverage Ontario’s world-class academic institutions to solve business challenges, develop new products and processes, and increase productivity. With the VIP program, Loyalist College’s research project received $75,000 in support from the Government of Ontario, through OCI. This was matched with $169,100 in industry contributions, for a total project value of $244,100.

About Loyalist College

Ranked one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges and #1 in the country for industry research income as a percentage of total research income, Loyalist College empowers students, faculty, staff, and partners through experiential, industry cluster-based education, training and applied research programs. As Ontario’s Destination College, the College provides job-ready graduates for, and knowledge transfer to, industry and the community. Of 2018-19 graduates, 88.8 percent were employed within six months after graduation. Located on more than 200 acres in the beautiful Bay of Quinte region, the College is perfectly positioned between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Loyalist College offers more than 70 full-time diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs in biosciences, building sciences, business, community service, health and wellness, media studies, public safety, and skilled trades. Continuing education options are available through LoyalistFocus.com, including hundreds of online, distance and in-class courses, and through the College’s 100+ university transfer agreements. Loyalist College is a key driver of social and economic health in eastern Ontario. It contributes 3.7 percent of the Gross Regional Product, representing $382 million annually to the regional economy – based on a March 2020 report by Emsi. For more information on Loyalist College’s Belleville, Bancroft and Toronto campuses and Port Hope satellite location, visit YoureGoingPlaces.com.

About Apollo Green 

Apollo Green is Canada’s leader in cannabis genetics. The company’s mission is to provide an ever-growing bank of seeds and clones to medical patients and recreational consumers. Apollo Green provides clean, trusted cannabis seeds and clones, which are backed by the foremost tissue culture technology to reduce risks, costs and time-to-market for licensed producers around the world.

About The Ontario Centre of Innovation

The Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), formerly the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), maximizes the commercial impact of research developed in Ontario’s colleges, universities, and research hospitals, and accelerates the commercialization of Made-in-Ontario intellectual property and technologies. A pan-provincial collaboration platform, with a broad and deep network across industry, academia and government, OCI initiates unparalleled partnership opportunities, develops and manages successful industry-academic collaborations, supports high-potential SMEs in commercializing ground-breaking research, and provides hands-on training and skills development opportunities for the next generation of highly-skilled talent. Learn more about the Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP): oc-innovation.ca

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Contact: Ashliegh Gehl, Coordinator, Marketing and Communications

Loyalist College, agehl@loyalistcollege.com, 613-969-1913, ext. 2826