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Clever Leaves and Biopharmaceutical Research Company to Partner for Landmark Cannabis Research Study in Collaboration With University of California, Davis

NEW YORK, July 27, 2021 – PRESS RELEASE – CleverLeaves Holdings Inc., a leading multinational operator and licensed producer of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids, and Biopharmaceutical Research Company (BRC), a specialty pharmaceutical company that holds federal licenses for importing, analyzing and manufacturing controlled substances in the U.S., announced a joint partnership with the intent to study the DNA sequence variation of three Clever Leaves’ cannabis cultivars as part of their Project Change Lives campaign. The University of California, Davis, through an accepted research sponsorship from BRC, will lead the extraction and analysis of DNA to elucidate genetic variants taken from various genetic lines of Cannabis sativa.

Project Change Lives is a U.S.-based initiative sponsored by Clever Leaves, whereby the company has pledged to contribute up to $25,000,000 retail value of medical cannabis products to any eligible U.S. organization to help advance scientific research into the potential medical benefits of cannabinoids. By sponsoring Project Change Lives, Clever Leaves is offering to provide a historic amount of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis to leading research institutions in one of the most advanced pharmaceutical markets in the world.

UC Davis will be the first major research institution to collaborate in the investigation of Clever Leaves’ Colombian and Portuguese, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis as part of Project Change Lives.

Clever Leaves will provide three of its cultivars to BRC for analysis at its facilities. Researchers from UC Davis will extract DNA for sequencing and analysis from the cannabis samples at the BRC facilities. The UC Davis scientists will also test new approaches to extract RNA from dried material. If successful, researchers will analyze the data to quantify global gene expression and will use available pipelines to determine differential gene expression between the three lines sampled. These data will provide foundational information to initiate new crosses and a breeding pipeline for the future to ensure the genetic variation of Cannabis sativa can be utilized to provide novel and unique medicinal cannabis for new pharmaceuticals.

Moreover, analysis of the completed data will reveal the correlation between specific genotypes of cannabis and the biochemical phenotypes for cannabinoids and terpenes. Upon completion of the study, UC Davis intends to provide a report that provides insight into the genetic diversity of the lines and the feasibility of RNA extraction and gene expression from dried Cannabis sativa material. These findings will be made widely available for the benefit of the medical and scientific community—a result that meets one of the key goals of Project Change Lives. 

“We are honored to collaborate with the UC Davis’ Plant Science department,” Clever Leaves CEO Kyle Detwiler said. “UC Davis consistently ranks as one of the top plant sciences programs in the world and shares our commitment to applying a deeper scientific rigor to cannabis research in order to further our understanding behind the potentially life-saving applications of cannabinoid medicine. We are truly excited that UC Davis has become the first U.S. research institution to align with Project Change Lives, and we look forward to the expansion of the initiative.” 

Distinguished Professor Gail Taylor, the principal investigator on the research project and John B. Orr Endowed Chair of the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis added, “This new project will provide a glimpse into the genetic variation apparent in contrasting lines of Cannabis sativa and is part of a larger program at UC Davis to unravel this variation and begin breeding for cultivars to assist the medicinal cannabis industry.”

“What a privilege it is to join forces with Clever Leaves and UC Davis for such a worthy cause in Project Change Lives,” Biopharmaceutical Research Company CEO George Hodgin said. “The reputation of UC Davis’s plant sciences program coupled with the generosity and leadership from Clever Leaves is sure to lead to some powerful breakthroughs. We’re thrilled to be a part of it and are eager to work with them to expand research into groundbreaking cannabis treatment discoveries through this program.”

As part of Project Change Lives, Clever Leaves has committed to supplying up to 250,000 bottles of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis oils or approximately 5 tons of medical cannabis flower that will help research institutions develop new therapies. To eliminate an additional impediment to the advancement of scientific knowledge around cannabis, this research material will be provided at no cost to Clever Leaves’ research partners. Organizations interested in applying can visit www.projectchangelives.org for more information.

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