Canopy Rivers makes US$10 million investment in plant genetics innovator ZeaKal
Launching ZeaKal’s Transformative PhotoSeed™ Technology in Cannabis
Toronto, Ontario and San Diego, California – June 19, 2019 – Canopy Rivers Inc. (“Canopy Rivers”, the “Company”) (TSXV: RIV, OTC: CNPOF) and ZeaKal, Inc. (“ZeaKal”) are pleased to announce an investment and strategic collaboration between Canopy Rivers and ZeaKal, a California-based plant science innovator with proprietary technologies that sustainably increase photosynthesis, improve plant yield and enhance nutritional profiles for a variety of agricultural crops. The investment from Canopy Rivers marks another significant corporate milestone this calendar year for ZeaKal, following the February announcement of its R&D collaboration (link) with Corteva Agriscience (NYSE: CTVA), the recently spun-out and NYSE-listed agricultural science division of DowDuPont.
ZeaKal’s proprietary technology, PhotoSeed™, increases a plant’s intrinsic photosynthetic capacity, meaning that PhotoSeed™ plants can convert more sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy for growth. This results in substantial improvement in seed and grain yield, as well as improved macronutrient profiles that drive an increase in both oil and protein content. For farmers, this means better productivity and profit margins; for consumers, this means higher nutritional profiles and an environmentally friendly way to meet growing global demand. With multi-year field trials across diverse plant species in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, the initial commercial focus has been on major row crops. Following Canopy Rivers’ investment, ZeaKal intends to expand its program to include cannabis and hemp.
“Our investment in ZeaKal, the fifth consecutive international transaction for Canopy Rivers, builds on our thesis of selecting globally scalable and innovative processes, products, and technologies from complementary industries, and applying them to the cannabis and hemp economy,” said Mary Dimou, Director of Business Development at Canopy Rivers. “Plant sciences is a mostly overlooked but absolutely critical segment of the cannabis and hemp value chain, and we are seeking to address this gap with this investment. ZeaKal’s technology has already realized success across a number of crops during field trials, and these are crops that have been commercialized for decades. The application of this innovative technology throughout the Canopy Rivers portfolio and the cannabis and hemp industry at large could be a game changer.”
Canopy Rivers believes that ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology has the potential to translate into significant benefits for the cannabis and hemp industry. Due to prohibition, the cultivation of cannabis and hemp has lacked the agricultural research and advancements that have significantly improved the cultivation of other crops. Canopy Rivers believes that applying ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology to cannabis and hemp represents a significant step forward – with increased crop yield, higher oil production, additional grow cycles, and enriched cannabinoid output numbering among the potential benefits of the technology. While trials on cannabis and hemp have yet to begin, the positive results already achieved give Canopy Rivers confidence in ZeaKal’s experienced team and its ability to successfully optimize and adapt its technology for expansion into this industry.
“We are elated that Canopy Rivers, a cannabis and hemp industry authority, has selected ZeaKal as an agriculture partner,” said Han Chen, Chief Executive Officer of ZeaKal. “Beyond the capital, it is further validation that PhotoSeed™ is a next-generation blockbuster trait that can be utilized across diverse industries. With its rich domain and technical expertise, Canopy Rivers is supporting our entry into the cannabis and hemp markets with a technology we expect to be transformative for the sector.”
As a result of its US$10,000,000 investment, Canopy Rivers owns approximately 8.7% of ZeaKal on a fully diluted basis and holds an observer seat on ZeaKal’s board of directors.
About Canopy Rivers:
Canopy Rivers is a unique investment and operating platform structured to pursue investment opportunities in the emerging global cannabis sector. Canopy Rivers works collaboratively with Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED, NYSE: CGC) to identify strategic counterparties seeking financial and/or operating support. Canopy Rivers has developed an investment ecosystem of complementary cannabis operating companies that represent various segments of the value chain across the emerging cannabis sector. As the portfolio continues to develop, constituents will be provided with opportunities to work with Canopy Growth and collaborate among themselves, which Canopy Rivers believes will maximize value for its shareholders and foster an environment of innovation, synergy and value creation for the entire ecosystem.
ZeaKal is a plant science company developed from the incubation pipeline of Kapyon Ventures in partnership with AgResearch Ltd. The company is focused on developing, PhotoSeed™, a next-generation trait technology that has been proven to increase the photosynthetic capacity and yield of several major crops.
For further information, please contact:
Canopy Rivers Inc.
Sr. Director, Investor Relations & Communications