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22nd Century Launches Major New Initiative to Produce Medically-Important Marijuana Cannabinoids


22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE MKT: XXII), a plant biotechnology company that is a leader in tobacco harm reduction and cannabis research, announced today that it is launching a major new initiative to produce medically important cannabinoids in plants other than cannabis – including tobacco plants.

In support of this initiative, the Company also announced that has opened its own fully-outfitted molecular biology laboratories in the Cleveland BioLabs building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. 22nd Century’s new laboratories will host cutting-edge research in industrial hemp/cannabis and tobacco biotechnology. Paul J. Rushton, Ph.D., the Company’s recently appointed Cambridge and Max Planck Institute-educated Vice President of Plant Biotechnology, will manage the Company’s research efforts at the new laboratories.

Under a worldwide license agreement with Anandia Laboratories Inc. (Anandia), 22nd Century enjoys exclusive rights in the U.S. to genes required for cannabinoid production in the cannabis plant. The proprietary technology facilitates the modification of cannabinoid levels in cannabis, providing 22nd Century Group an exclusive competitive advantage in the burgeoning area of cannabis biotechnology. In brief, the proprietary technology provides the Company with tools to increase or decrease the production and content of all or certain subsets of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.

Building on the Company’s licensed technology and sponsored research with Anandia, and utilizing proprietary “transcription factor” technology that the Company purchased for $1.8 million from the National Research Council of Canada, 22nd Century is pursuing multiple new research projects, including a novel new initiative to produce specific, medically-important cannabinoids in tobacco plants. The Company believes that this tobacco-based approach could “leap-frog” existing cannabis biotechnology and yield commercial medical products far more rapidly.

Using tobacco as a “bio-factory” to produce cannabinoids is an approach that only 22nd Century can pursue since the Company is in the unique position of having vast experience with manipulating tobacco and is also the only company in the United States with...