IP licensing startup aims to connect breeders with market

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Three cannabis industry veterans have joined to launch Breeder’s Best, a U.S.-based company that will focus on intellectual property (IP) protection for independent plant breeders, and help them license their IP internationally.

While the potential for the cannabis industries is great, the San Diego-based company said there is “a critical disconnect” between breeders and markets that are demanding products with unique and proven genetic profiles, and that IP protection is needed to support such partnerships.


“Our mission is to connect the best cannabis genetics to the greatest needs and most promising commercial opportunities,” said Dale Hunt, the company’s founder and CEO.

Positioned to meet the demands of the GMP-oriented cannabis marketplace, which it termed “increasingly professional,” the company said it aims to operate “in a way that benefits breeders and directs profitable and reliable business to growers who may otherwise be left behind.”

Stakeholders welcomed the development. “IP protection of genetics is definitely important for breeders. But even more important is quality assurance and stability of the genetics for farmers,” said European hemp veteran Hana Gabrielova of Czech-based Hempoint, a cultivation seed wholesaler. “This kind of independent, third party agent can help ensure the morphological stability of the genetics. That’s the key to worldwide market access for breeders.”

IP’s big role

“On both the hemp and marijuana sides of the cannabis plant, genetic IP is becoming more and more important to a variety of stakeholders within the industry,” said Mike Leago, Chief Operating Officer at High Grade Hemp Seed, a seed developer and supplier based in Colorado USA. “Whether cannabis breeders like it or not, IP is going to play a big role in the future of the plant, and I appreciate this team coming together to help breeders protect their hard work.”

With its strategy based on a global plant-licensing model that has proven successful in other agriculture sectors, the company will identify genetics for selective breeding to turn out specific chemical components, said Ethan Russo, a neurologist and medical cannabis expert who is also a partner in Breeder’s Best. Russo served as Senior Medical Advisor at GW Pharmaceuticals where he also was Study Physician and Medical Monitor for the Epidiolex and Sativex clinical trials.

Easing way for breeders

“This is a great service to breeders who would prefer to focus on the art and science of breeding, instead of dealing with the mechanics of commercialization,” said Robert C. Clarke, the new company’s Director of Agronomy and Genetics. Clark is a 40-year cannabis industry veteran, and the author of the landmark books Marijuana Botany (1982), and Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany (2013).

Hunt, the CEO, has been practicing IP law for 23 years. He has a PhD in plant cellular and molecular biology and has obtained thousands of patents and plant variety rights for his clients in more than 30 countries.

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