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Israel: Hebrew University invests in medical marijuana startup

Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, announced that Agrinnovation, an investment fund focused on agricultural inventions, has entered into an agreement for an investment in Cannabi-Tech Ltd., a medical cannabis company established in 2015, and based on research preformed in the laboratory of Prof. Oded Shoseyov from The Hebrew University's Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Cannabi-Tech is developing the world's first accurate, affordable and easy-to-use device, for the non-destructive detection, analysis and automated sorting of individual medical cannabis flowers. The company's proprietary technology combines Near Infra-Red (NIR) spectrometry and imaging tools to provide a sensitive method to detect and quantify the active compounds of the cannabis plant and a unique spectral fingerprint for each flower. The addition of a sorter will enable automated sorting of cannabis flowers by pre-set criteria suitable for mass production. An optional attachable label generator and automated packaging unit will pack flowers individually ensuring full composition and potency traceability and tracking for each and every flower from farmer to patient.

Currently inadequate testing protocols depend on sampling (statistics) for estimating the composition and potency of an entire batch of cannabis flowers based on the average of the results obtained from a selection of samples. Results are unreliable due to the heterogeneous nature of the cannabis plant. This creates a substantial risk for patients in need of exact composition and dosage for effective care. At present, no means are available to accurately examine cannabis flowers without destroying them in the process. This shortcoming reduces flower efficacy and commercial value.

Prof. Oded Shoseyov, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Cannabi-Tech, said, "Cannabis composition and potency varies drastically between different flowers from the same plant and across different plants within the same strain. As a result, the only way to guarantee cannabis composition and potency is to test each and every flower independently. Furthermore, the benefit of herbal cannabis lies in the synergistic effect of its compounds. The medical cannabis opportunity cannot materialize in full until doctors do not have 100% confidence that each time they prescribe medical cannabis, it comes in a controlled and standardized condition, with the precise composition of active ingredients matching their patient's therapeutic needs."

Dr. Guy Setton, Co-Founder and CEO, Cannabi-Tech, stated, "We are excited to partner with Agrinnovation, which enables us to leverage the resources and capabilities of Yissum, a longtime leader the field of technology transfer with a successful track-record of commercializing early stage scientific research. Cannabi-Tech will use the proceeds to fund its R&D activities and initial business development efforts. In addition, we are in the midst of a financing round and are seeking additional funding."

"Cannabi-Tech's breakthrough technology is another example of the kind of innovative applied technologies originating from The Hebrew University's Faculty of Agriculture which includes over 100 researchers working on novel inventions in diverse fields such as agriculture, food, nutrition, veterinary medicine and clean-tech," added Dr. Ido Schechter, General Manager, Agrinnovation. "As the medical cannabis industry expands worldwide, there will be a significant rise in regulatory oversight, increased quality assurance and quality control testing, while growing market demand will need to be fulfilled by mass production, all which will drive Cannabi-Tech's growth."

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