Engineering a new biosynthetic pathway for the production of minor cannabinoids

As one of the first countries to legalize cannabis, Canada is at the forefront of the cannabis research and technology. While there are a number of medical applications for Cannabis that have been used for a number of years, these treatments require patients to either smoke dried cannabis, or use cannabis extracts that can include a number of plant impurities and are mixtures of various cannabinoids compounds. Over 120 minor cannabinoids are produced by the cannabis plant, C. sativa. In order to advance the study of medical applications of cannabinoids, a robust method to produce pure, high quality minor cannabinoids is needed. The proposed research will work to develop a novel method for producing cannabinoids using biological synthesis in E. coli. The Ward Lab will engineer a number of strains optimized to produce a single minor cannabinoids at a time, and as E. coli does not normally produced these compounds, we will be able to recovery it at a high purity for pharmaceutical applications. This project is expected to establish a number of cannabinoids producing strains, perform strain optimization, and to provide information needed to enable the commercialization of the developed process.

Faculty Supervisor:

Valerie Ward


Eric Blondeel


Akseera Pharma Corp


Engineering - chemical / biological



University of Waterloo



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