TORONTO and SAN DIEGO – Canopy Rivers Inc. (“Canopy Rivers”, the “Company”) (TSXV: RIV, OTC: CNPOF) and ZeaKal, Inc. (“ZeaKal”) are pleased to announce an investment and strategic collaboration between Canopy Rivers and ZeaKal, a California-based plant science innovator with proprietary technologies that sustainably increase photosynthesis, improve plant yield and enhance nutritional profiles for a variety of agricultural crops. The investment from Canopy Rivers marks another significant corporate milestone this calendar year for ZeaKal, following the February announcement of its R&D collaboration with Corteva Agriscience (NYSE: CTVA), the recently spun-out and NYSE-listed agricultural science division of DowDuPont.
ZeaKal’s proprietary technology, PhotoSeed™, increases a plant’s intrinsic photosynthetic capacity, meaning that PhotoSeed™ plants can convert more sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy for growth. This results in substantial improvement in seed and grain yield, as well as improved macronutrient profiles that drive an increase in both oil and protein content. For farmers, this means better productivity and profit margins; for consumers, this means higher nutritional profiles and an environmentally friendly way to meet growing global demand. With multi-year field trials across diverse plant species in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, the initial commercial focus has been on major row crops. Following Canopy Rivers’ investment, ZeaKal intends to expand its program to include cannabis and hemp.
“Our investment in ZeaKal, the fifth consecutive international transaction for Canopy Rivers, builds on our thesis of selecting globally scalable and innovative processes, products, and technologies from complementary industries, and applying them to the cannabis and hemp economy,” said Mary Dimou, Director of Business Development at Canopy Rivers. “Plant sciences is a mostly overlooked but absolutely critical segment of the cannabis and hemp value chain, and we are seeking to address this gap with this investment. ZeaKal’s technology has already realized success across a number of crops during field trials, and these are crops that have been commercialized for decades. The application of this innovative technology throughout the Canopy Rivers portfolio and the cannabis and hemp industry at large could be a game changer.”
Canopy Rivers believes that ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology has the potential to translate into significant benefits for the cannabis and hemp industry. Due to prohibition, the cultivation of cannabis and hemp has lacked the agricultural research and advancements that have significantly improved the cultivation of other crops. Canopy Rivers believes that applying ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology to cannabis and hemp represents a significant step forward - with increased crop yield, higher oil production, additional grow cycles, and enriched cannabinoid output numbering among the potential benefits of the technology. While trials on cannabis and hemp have yet to begin, the positive results already achieved give Canopy Rivers confidence in ZeaKal’s experienced team and its ability to successfully optimize and adapt its technology for expansion into this industry.
“We are elated that Canopy Rivers, a cannabis and hemp industry authority, has selected ZeaKal as an agriculture partner,” said Han Chen, Chief Executive Officer of ZeaKal. “Beyond the capital, it is further validation that PhotoSeed™ is a next-generation blockbuster trait that can be utilized across diverse industries. With its rich domain and technical expertise, Canopy Rivers is supporting our entry into the cannabis and hemp markets with a technology we expect to be transformative for the sector.”
As a result of its US$10,000,000 investment, Canopy Rivers owns approximately 8.7% of ZeaKal on a fully diluted basis and holds an observer seat on ZeaKal’s board of directors.
Canopy Rivers is a unique investment and operating platform structured to pursue investment opportunities in the emerging global cannabis sector. Canopy Rivers works collaboratively with Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED, NYSE: CGC) to identify strategic counterparties seeking financial and/or operating support. Canopy Rivers has developed an investment ecosystem of complementary cannabis operating companies that represent various segments of the value chain across the emerging cannabis sector. As the portfolio continues to develop, constituents will be provided with opportunities to work with Canopy Growth and collaborate among themselves, which Canopy Rivers believes will maximize value for its shareholders and foster an environment of innovation, synergy and value creation for the entire ecosystem.
ZeaKal is a plant science company developed from the incubation pipeline of Kapyon Ventures in partnership with AgResearch Ltd. The company is focused on developing, PhotoSeed™, a next-generation trait technology that has been proven to increase the photosynthetic capacity and yield of several major crops.
This news release contains statements which constitute “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including statements regarding the plans, intentions, beliefs and current expectations of Canopy Rivers with respect to future business activities and operating performance. Forward-looking information is often identified by the words “may”, “would”, “could”, “should”, “will”, “intend”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect” or similar expressions and includes information regarding: the application and benefits of ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology for a variety of crops and industries, including cannabis and hemp; the expansion of ZeaKal’s program to include cannabis and hemp; ZeaKal’s team and its ability to optimize and adapt the PhotoSeed™ technology for cannabis and hemp; the impact of ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology on Canopy Rivers’ portfolio, the cannabis and hemp industry, farmers and consumers; Canopy Rivers’ investment thesis; and other expectations regarding economic, business, and/or competitive factors.
Investors are cautioned that forward-looking information is not based on historical facts but instead reflects management’s expectations, estimates or projections concerning future results or events based on the opinions, assumptions and estimates of management considered reasonable at the date the statements are made. Although Canopy Rivers believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, such information involves risks and uncertainties, and undue reliance should not be placed on such information, as unknown or unpredictable factors could have material adverse effects on future results, performance or achievements of Canopy Rivers. Among the key factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information are the following: regulatory and licensing risks; the actual application and benefits of ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology; changes in ZeaKal’s program; the performance of ZeaKal’s team and its ability to optimize and adapt the PhotoSeed™ technology for cannabis and hemp; the actual impact of ZeaKal’s PhotoSeed™ technology on Canopy Rivers’ portfolio, the cannabis and hemp industry, farmers and consumers; the ability of ZeaKal and Canopy Rivers to collaborate; opportunities for investment by Canopy Rivers; changes in general economic, business and political conditions, including changes in the financial markets; the global regulatory landscape and enforcement related to cannabis, including political risks and risks relating to regulatory change; risks relating to anti-money laundering laws; compliance with extensive government regulation; public opinion and perception of the cannabis industry; and the risk factors set out in Canopy Rivers’ final short form prospectus dated February 21, 2019, filed with Canadian securities regulators and available on Canopy Rivers’ profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking information prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein as intended, planned, anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Although Canopy Rivers has attempted to identify important risks, uncertainties and factors which could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be others that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Canopy Rivers does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update this forward-looking information except as otherwise required by applicable law.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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