Occo, Aurora Cannabis’s new genetic licensing business, is backed by Aurora’s breeding and genetics facility in Comox, British Columbia, Canada. The Occo team has expertise in biotechnology, genomics, pathology, analytics and testing, product development, and tissue culture.
Vice president of genetics business development, Casey Whelan, will be responsible for leading Occo’s genetics licensing efforts in Canada and other markets. Before joining Aurora, he spent a decade breeding and licensing premium agricultural products.
Charles Pick, Aurora’s senior vice president of science and innovation, said the company is committed to continuing investments in marijuana research and development. He believes Aurora’s crucial market differentiator is the commercial application of unique technologies like biosynthesis.
Aurora has three operational facilities in Canada (Aurora Sky, Aurora Vie, and Aurora Mountain) and a 1,000,000-square-foot facility in Odense, Denmark. Aurora’s first facility, Aurora Mountain, is a 55,200-square-foot production facility in Mountain View County. Aurora Nordic recently supplied cannabis for France’s medical marijuana pilot program.
Aurora’s Coast research and development hub will serve as Occo’s base of operations.
“Under the Occo umbrella, licensed producers will be granted access to a strong pipeline of novel cultivars and innovative traits that will meet the evolving expectations of consumers,” said Pick. “Occo already has more than 30 high-quality cultivars, not available anywhere else on the market, that are ready for immediate trial and exclusive licensing.”
Occo has previously made many business moves, commercializing several new cultivars with Canadian licensed producers, including three cultivars launched under Aurora’s San Rafael ’71 brand — Driftwood Diesel, Lemon Rocket, and Stonefruit Sunset.