Through this agreement, FRB will accelerate its marker-assisted breeding program and develop new traits and varieties to bring continued innovation to the cannabis and hemp industry. Steep Hill has developed important markers for cannabinoid and terpene production related pathways, advancing FRB’s breeding platform for both seed and vegetatively propagated or cloned varieties. These markers will also complement the work currently underway in FRB’s breeding program and the results will greatly expand the library of commercially valuable agronomic traits for dependable crop yields in different climates and regions around the world. In addition, FRB will be collaborating with Steep Hill on the development of improved genomics-based tests for commercial cannabis, benefitting the industry by providing more advanced standards and certifications.
“The Steep Hill R&D team is among the top three cannabis genomics groups in the world, and we are very excited to welcome them to FRB,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, CEO and Co-Founder of FRB. “This acquisition is a major value inflection point for FRB, as the intellectual property we acquired significantly expands the value of our current portfolio and provides a multi-year leap in the speed of our IP filings. We look forward to strengthening the viability of the cannabis industry with such a monumental collaboration between leaders of agricultural sustainability through science.”
Led by former president of Steep Hill, Dr. Reggie Gaudino, the ten-person genomics team brings nearly four years of data and intellectual property on cannabis genetics to FRB, adding to its existing IP portfolio and patent filings. By joining the groups, FRB’s breeding program will advance significantly, resulting in additional unique and advantaged cannabis and hemp varieties for FRB’s customers.
“I speak for the entire team when I say that we are thrilled to be joining FRB’s R&D division and look forward to continuing our shared goal of improving cannabis genomics,” said Dr. Gaudino. “FRB’s focus on genomics-driven plant breeding, paired with our genomics-based testing capabilities, will be an unparalleled combination. I am excited to lead our team to further elevate the science for this growing industry.”
Prior to his role at Steep Hill, Dr. Gaudino served as a genetics researcher with 18 years of intellectual property experience in patent writing, management, and prosecution in fields as diverse as software and telecommunications to biotechnology and molecular genetics. Dr. Gaudino has also served as a patent agent at Sequenom, Inc., managed IP-based acquisitions for the Vortice Research Group, worked at four law firms focused on biotechnology, and has served as an advisor to multiple portfolio investment companies. Dr. Gaudino received his B.S. in Molecular Biology and Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the State University of New York at Buffalo and conducted four years of post-doctoral research at the Washington University in St. Louis.
Joining Dr. Gaudino will be his entire team, which includes four additional PhD’s. Dr. Gaudino will remain as the Head of the Scientific Advisory Board for Steep Hill and lead the collaboration between the two companies.
“Following a comprehensive strategic review, we realized that we had amassed an unsurpassed body of deep learning about cannabis genomics that was ready-made for FRB’s high-value crop development program,” said Andrew Rosenstein, Chief Executive Officer of Steep Hill. “Our new partnership with Front Range Biosciences will unlock the crop development potential of Steep Hill’s IP while positioning our core regulatory cannabis-testing business to benefit from FRB’s best-in-class development infrastructure for years to come.”