Cannabis producers monitoring COVID-19 pandemic, but continue to operate cultivation facilities
As Canadian cannabis companies monitor developments with the COVID-19 pandemic, most major producers are continue to operate their cultivation facilities. Spokespeople from Canopy Growth, Hexo, Aurora Cannabis and Tilray each told BNN Bloomberg that the companies have reduced business travel and given staff the option to work from home in light of advisories issued by the World Health Organization regarding the coronavirus outbreak. However, each of those producers stated that their cultivation facilities remain fully operational and they have not experienced any disruptions to regular operations, including their existing supply chain. The spokespeople each said they continue to monitor the evolving situation and will assess their operations on an as-needed basis.
Cannabis stocks plunge alongside historic market moves
Publicly traded cannabis companies plunged on Thursday, trading alongside a historic decline in the Toronto Stock Exchange and other U.S. markets as investors become increasingly concerned about the economic impact from COVID-19. Several cannabis companies including Aphria and Canopy Growth moved to new multi-year lows, while Aurora Cannabis closed below the $1 level for the first time since Sept. 2016. U.S.-listed companies such as Tilray and Cronos Group also ended the day with double-digit declines.
Zenabis lays off 175 people in corporate restructuring aimed at becoming cash-flow positive this year
Vancouver-based Zenabis announced it is laying off about 175 people, or about 22 per cent of its total workforce, in a corporate update released late Wednesday. The company said in a corporate update that it is also selling its Delta, B.C. facility after noting the building has limited capacity and cultivation was halted in May 2019. The company continues to operate its other facilities in Atholville, B.C. and Langley, B.C. Zenabis also said that it received a license from Health Canada to export cannabis to the European Union, which it intends to begin commercial shipping by the second-quarter of the year. Zenabis' stock trades around five cents a share, down about 98 per cent over the past year.
Willow Biosciences to scale up cannabinoid development with research partner
Willow Biosciences said Thursday that the company delivered its proprietary cannabinoid-producing yeast strain to its development partner to scale up for commercialization purposes. Willow, which has developed a way to create cannabinoids such as THC and CBD using yeast organisms to construct the chemical compounds, will start its next phase with Albany Molecular Research, the company said in a statement. Willow now expects to reach the commercialization phase of its development process in the first half of 2021, six months sooner than originally expected. Following the end of that project, Willow could move toward larger scale fermentation vessels shortly afterward. Making cannabinoids using yeast is a process that several cannabis producers such as Cronos Group and Organigram are also investigating to drastically reduce the biomass costs of creating cannabis-infused products.
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