As more CPG companies look to add cannabis to their foods and beverages, Nextleaf Solutions wants to fulfill the demand.
Nextleaf is the first publicly traded company to be issued a patent in the U.S. for industrial-scale extraction and purification of cannabinoids. Founder and CEO of Nextleaf Solutions Paul Pedersen told Food Dive the company is deploying a unique scientific process to create one of the most potent forms of cannabis available, which is also odorless, tasteless and standardized for potency.
“From day one the focus has never been on growing a plant, but working on developing disruptive extraction and purification technology that we felt would really change how edibles and infused products are made,” Pederson said.
In total, Nextleaf has eight patents, including five in the U.S., one in Canada and two in Australia. The company also has more than 40 pending patents around the world in places including Mexico, Colombia, Jamaica, Israel and Europe. As bigger companies increasingly make investments in the cannabis space, protecting Nextleaf’s process has become essential because more players will come in and want to use their method of extracting and purifying molecules, he said. With patents, those companies won’t be able to do so without violating Nextleaf’s intellectual property, Pederson said.
“From day one the focus has never been on growing a plant, but working on developing disruptive extraction and purification technology that we felt would really change how edibles and infused products are made.”
CEO, Nextleaf Solutions
“Patents are going to become that much more important for smaller companies, no different than what we see in life sciences and biotech,” Pederson said. “For us, we think the patents are significant because they cover the process that we believe is the most efficient method.”
During the last three years, Pederson said Nextleaf has been an R&D focused company with 16 full-time employees — including four PhDs and three chemists on staff — focused on developing intellectual property around industrial scale extraction, purification and formulation processes. Now that the company has the process figured out, Nextleaf is starting to commercialize and form partnerships with food and beverage companies.
In September, Nextleaf granted an exclusive license to BevCanna Enterprises to be able to use its knowledge related to water-soluble cannabinoids for BevCanna’s infused cannabis beverages.
“We are very pleased to leverage Nextleaf’s technology within our formulations, as they have a proven reputation